'The media has to strike back' - Eamon Dunphy on recent tensions in press relations across a number of sports
Former Republic of Ireland international and award-winning journalist Eamon Dunphy has called on the media to take a united stand as relations worsen with some of the country's top sporting figures and organisations.
In recent weeks Joe Schmidt cancelled a post-match briefing with print journalists after the win over Italy, Dublin boss Jim Gavin has boycotted RTÉ over their refusal to provide DVD footage of opposition teams, MTK Global are refusing to work with the Irish media because they are being linked back to their co-founder Daniel Kinahan and Martin O'Neill revealed he would be signing a new contract on FAI TV.
With access to coaches and players decreasing, coupled with an increase in tension in media relations, Dunphy believes that a response is required.
Speaking on Game On on RTÉ 2FM, Dunphy claimed there is an attempt to 'tame' how sport is being covered in the press.
"It's a very important issue. Martin O'Neill recently gave FAI TV an interview which clarified Martin O'Neill's situation with his contract. That was outrageous," he said.
"There is an attempt to tame comment and reportage.
"It's happening in soccer, it's happening in rugby and the GAA.
"What it denies the fans is an independent view and independent coverage.
"I think the media has to use its power. The players and the coaches are flogging stuff, they're advertising stuff, there are all kinds of ways they use the media and the media allows itself to be used.
"I think it has come to a head. I mean Jim Gavin's situation is absolutely outrageous. Totally outrageous.
"You do need a healthy situation. America is a good example. I've covered a couple of Super Bowls. You get amazing access. You get a whole day with the players and the coaches.
"The media has to strike back and the way to strike back is to blank them and to refuse to cover what they want you to cover.
"You've got to put manners on them. They are abusing the power they have. Then you have to use the power that you have and you've got to be rigorous about it and get very tough because the link between the sport and the people in it and the public who support it is the media."
He feels that supporters deserve independent and objective coverage of the games they love.
"Fans have no power. They have to take what they are given and they get stuffed when it comes to ticket prices for example," he added.
"The press need to do an audit. Where do these guys need us? Where do they use us for commercial reasons and endorsements? We're not going.
"We're not going to cover you at your discretion. We're not going to cover you at all or on our terms.
"People want and deserve robust comment. They want news and opinion and they want to know about players. They deserve that. They are the ones that pay for everything."