Denis O’Brien, Putting The Boot In

Denis O'Brien
Denis O’Brien: “These boots are made for walking, and that’s just what they’ll do, one of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you…”

In relation to the controversial entrepreneur Denis O’Brien , the “Donald Trump” of the Irish business world, and his seeming determination to litigate his critics into submission (yet again!) the academic writer Julien Mercille makes this cogent point over on the legally-besieged broadsheet.ie:

“Ireland’s mass media landscape is among the most concentrated in developed countries. Notably, we don’t have a single left-of-centre outlet. The Guardian has no equivalent here. The information we receive is thus coming from a quite narrow centre to right-wing spectrum. Sure, there are exceptions and some journalists produce excellent critical progressive stories, but unfortunately, they remain exceptions.

This partly explains why the mainstream media reaction to the above explicit attacks on freedom of speech has been relatively muted. By this I mean that one would have expected a more forceful defense of the right of journalists to investigate and report on matters of great public interest.

It doesn’t help that Denis O’Brien controls a large chunk of our national media. His Independent News & Media (INM) accounts for 40% of all newspaper sales in the country and includes the largest weekly and Sunday broadsheets, the Independent and Sunday Independent. His Communicorp group includes Today FM, Spin, 98FM and Newstalk, the country’s largest supplier of radio news.”

The problem is that much of the national news media in Ireland is ideologically – and commercially – content with the present arrangements, and has no desire to see the domestic market opened up to a greater diversity of opinion and analysis. Especially that which falls outside its collective embrace of right and centre-right socio-economic libertarianism. Political pluralism is anathema to our press which is why the fawning meekness expected by various wayward billionaires – both past and present – is not the onerous burden one might believe it to be for those in the newsrooms of Dublin and elsewhere.

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4 comments

  1. The asinine law of this country allows this eejit buy our media as Australia allowed Murdoch his own printed palaces and this has to be stopped. FREE PRESS means just that.

    1. I agree, craghopper, however I can’t see any government of any makeup daring to take on the private sector monopoly in the press or at a broader level, media ownership rules.

  2. You’re right, craghopper. But I’m afraid you’re going to have to be the one to stop it. You have to make your own free press. Me too.

  3. As a former journalist I don’t understand why freedom of the press is a “left” or “right” issue. All journalists and all publications, no matter what their ideological bent, should seek to preserve and enlarge freedom of the press. Do those that control the media in Ireland not realize that without adequate safeguards the tables could be turned with relatively rapidity and they could find themselves muzzled? Or is this a simple attempt to control the marketplace by keeping out competition?

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