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Newstalk may sue RTE over ad refusal

Friday, April 18 15:17:37

Newstalk today said it is weighing its options, including legal, after it said that RTE refused to carry an ad for the rival radio station.

Newstalk said that a decision by RTE to refuse to broadcast an advertisement submitted by Newstalk 106-108 fm is in contravention of its public sector broadcasting remit.

"RTE's decision not to accept the ad is motivated solely by its determination to curb the listenership of a competitor," said Gerard Whelan, Newstalk CEO.

"We submitted an ad and RTE took an arbitrary decision to reject it," he added.

"RTE is subsidised by the taxpayer and in 2012, it generated a licence fee income of approximately E181 million. It also took in advertising revenue of approximately E156 million, in the same year. Now they want to stamp out the competition. This is clearly anti-competitive and an abuse of its position," Mr Whelan stated.

He said that Newstalk has been made aware that RTE has guidelines for rejecting ads from competitors. "RTE should make these guidelines public immediately, in the interest of transparency," he added.

Newstalk said it is taking legal advice and is considering lodging a formal complaint to the Competition Authority as a matter of urgency.