Why has Pat Rabbitte failed to act on the issue of concentration of media ownership? By Vincent Browne.
Last year, the businessman Denis O'Brien addressed the proper role of the owner/controller of a media enterprise, saying that the owner/controller should act "at an appropriate distance from editorial matters" and should be aware of "the responsibility that rests with media owners not to interfere with editorial content”.
On Friday 11 January, the Irish Times published an interview with James Osborne, the former chairman of Independent News & Media (INM), which O'Brien now controls. Osborne is quoted as saying that, on 14 April last year, a Saturday, O'Brien phoned him and demanded that an article about him be withdrawn from the following day's Sunday Independent.
Osborne said he responded: "No, that's not what I'm going to do." And he did not do that. He recalled in the interview that the article turned out to be "pretty innocuous". It was about the biggest borrowers with Anglo Irish Bank, O'Brien being among them.