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Irish minister urged to act on Newstalk contract with UTV radio

23 October 2014

The NUJ has called on the minister for communications, Alex White, to intervene directly to protect employment and media diversity in the commercial radio sector.

Séamus Dooley, NUJ Irish secretary, said the decision by UTV to enter an agreement with Communicorp whereby Newstalk will provide news to the UTV group of radio stations "has profound implications for employment, employment standards and media diversity in Ireland."

Séamus Dooley said:

"The NUJ is gravely concerned with this development and will be examining the full implications for employment in the UTV group of radio stations. The minister for communications must cry halt to this latest threat to media diversity.
"In terms of diversity of news, analysis and opinion we do not believe that the public interest will be best served by further extension of the influence of a dominant player in the Irish media market, Communicorp.
"Far from representing a strengthening of the independent commercial radio sector this move poses a threat to employment, to employment standards and to media diversity. The move cannot be viewed in isolation from Communicorp’s massive share of the Irish media market, including effective control of INM.
"The UTV group of radio stations – and indeed the emerging UTV television service in the Republic, can best contribute to the media landscape by enhancing employment and genuine diversity across all platforms. 
"The NUJ has long been calling for a commission on the future of the media in Ireland and this development underlines the need for a comprehensive debate on public policy in relation to media ownership, control and future direction. We also need to look at employment standards across all sections of the media.
"We have growing concerns at the nature of contracts being offered by a range of companies and the use of JobBridge and other schemes by broadcasting organisations and newspaper publishers. Any threat to employment in the UTV group of companies must be viewed in that wider context."

Tags: , ireland, media plurality, media reform, media commission, radio, utv, Communicorp, public interest, ownership, jobbridge, broadcasting, newstalk, jobs, government ireland