Irish newspaper now at risk of closure after publication of topless Kate Middleton pics
Editor of Irish Star defends decision as British shareholder pulls plug and demands inquiry
The Irish Daily Star newspaper is under threat of imminent closure as a major row escalates between shareholders over topless photos of Britain’s Duchess of Cambridge.
The paper is a joint venture between Ireland’s Independent News and Media and Britain’s Northern & Shell publishing giant.
The decision to print topless photos of Kate Middleton, wife of Prince William, in Saturday’s edition of the tabloid has now caused massive consequences.
Both managing director Ger Colleran editor Michael O’Kane have defended the decision to print the photos which first appeared in a French magazine.
But a livid Northern & Shell chairman Richard Desmond has said he will close the joint venture with immediate effect. Independent News and Media, the other owner, has condemned the decision to publish the photos.
Desmond will address an emergency board meeting on Tuesday with staff at the paper’s Dublin offices to be addressed by senior management on Sunday.
An outraged Dennis told reporters: “I am very angry at the decision to publish the photographs and am taking immediate steps to close the joint venture.
“The decision to publish these pictures has no justification whatever and Northern & Shell condemns it in the strongest possible terms.”
Desmond is keen to distance his British newspapers, including the Daily Star and the Daily Express, from the fall-out as the British Royal family threaten to sue the Irish Star.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have already said they will sue the French managzine which first published the photos, taken from a tree almost a mile away from their holiday villa.
An Italian magazine has said it will publish another 20 photos of the princess on Monday.
Irish Daily Star Editor Michael O’Kane defended his decision to print.
O’Kane told the BBC: “I am taken aback by the reaction. The duchess would be no different to any other celeb pics we would get in, for example Rihanna or Lady Gaga.
“She’s not the future queen of Ireland so really the only place this is causing fury seems to be in the UK.
“Of course people are going to be interested in this. She’s married into the Royal Family, she’s one of the most photographed people in the world, and she decides to partially disrobe on a balcony where it can be seen from a public road and she’s stunned now, or the palace are annoyed, that people are interested in this.”
Irish Daily Star managing director Ger Colleran added: “What we do in the Irish Daily Star is to produce an Irish newspaper for an Irish audience. The photographs of images taken from the magazine were not printed in our Belfast edition and there were two reasons for that - sensitivity to our British partners, Express Newspapers, and a slightly different legal regime.
“The issue here is that one is somewhat surprised about the furore that’s been created, particularly in a British media that gave freedom of speech to the world and is rightly called the Mother of Parliaments, underwritten by freedom of expression and a free press.” said Mr Colleran.
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