The transcripts of the official inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the press. More…

I think if any regulator were to make such decisions the regulator would have to use both approaches. It would have to be partly subjective but it also would have to bear in mind the needs of investment and so forth. I think that were a regulator to come into this area -- indeed they do, of course -- the Competition Commission -- issues of press are referred to that -- then they should bear in mind that a spread of ownership is valuable.

But also it depends hugely upon who buys it. I mean, one of the examples that we have of press ownership here is by a man who had been an officer in the Russian -- Soviet state security, the KGB, but his ownership of the newspapers, the Independent, Independent on Sunday and Evening Standard, and of his holdings in Russia, especially Novaya Gazeta, has been, by all accounts and by my experience, exemplary.

So a lot depends, I think, on observing the way in which newspaper owners and media owners observe what many believe to be a public trust, and that can come from a big company -- I believe that the Financial Times for which I worked for many years -- that Pearson, which is a very large publishing company, does have that view, that its press ownership is a public trust.

Other companies don't have that view, have a much more interventionist approach, where the owner's opinions are much more a part of the newspaper's editorial output. They would not, I think, maybe go as far as Lord Beaverbrook, former owner of Express newspapers, who said his newspapers were purely for the purposes of propaganda, but they would go some way towards that.

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