When Rupert Murdoch first purchased The Times and Sunday Times there were specific conditions designed to prevent editorial interference from the owners.
Now News UK is seeking to amend these conditions, which risks undermining this editorial independence which is absolutely vital in maintaining public faith in UK journalism and allowing journalists to do their jobs at Times titles.
Today, Hacked Off have launched a petition to urge the Government to reject the Murdochs’ attempt to water down the locks on editorial independence agreed to when the newspapers were first purchased.
Petition in full here and text below.
Hacked Off’s Director Kyle Taylor responded,
“The Times and Sunday Times are important newspapers. Their investigative journalism has been highly commendable.
“However, under the ownership of the Murdochs, The Times and Sunday Times’ editorial independence has been repeatedly called into question. The phone hacking scandal and resulting court cases exposed an utter disregard for corporate governance standards at the similarly Murdoch-owned title News of The World.
“To protect the editorial integrity of The Times and The Sunday Times, Hacked Off call on the Government to reject any Murdoch bid to weaken the guarantees set out to prevent publisher interference in The Times or Sunday Times newspapers.”
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Dear Secretary of State,
The Times and Sunday Times are important newspapers. But under the ownership of the Murdochs the titles’ editorial independence has been repeatedly called into question, while the phone hacking scandal and resulting court cases at News of the World have exposed the Murdochs as having no proper regard for good corporate governance.
This application would only serve to waterdown the 1981 conditions, by effectively weakening the protections put in place to keep the two newspapers distinct. It would also pave the way for a decline in standards and quality, with the two titles able to cut costs by rationing out services and resources between them. It is bad for the integrity of the two titles and it is bad for journalism.
To protect the editorial integrity of The Times and The Sunday Times, we the undersigned call on the Government to reject this bid to amend the Conditions agreed in 1981.