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World News March 15, 2024

UK to change law to ban foreign states from owning newspapers

The UK government unveiled plans to prevent foreign states from owning British newspapers, potentially impacting Abu Dhabi-backed RedBird IMI’s bid to acquire the Telegraph. The move comes amid concerns over media independence and foreign influence on politically significant assets. The Telegraph, closely linked with the Conservative Party, has become a focal point of power struggles. The proposed amendment to existing legislation aims to bar foreign state ownership in media mergers, effectively thwarting RedBird IMI’s bid. The company, led by former CNN executive Jeff Zucker and funded mainly by Abu Dhabi, expressed disappointment and pledged to reassess its options. The Telegraph’s takeover bid is already under scrutiny, but the new proposal specifically targets foreign state control. Dubbed the “Torygraph” for its Conservative Party alignment, the newspaper’s ownership battle occurs amidst declining support for the Tories, led by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, ahead of anticipated elections. Pressure from lawmakers, including Tina Stowell, prompted the government’s action, with her proposed amendment garnering significant parliamentary support over concerns of editorial interference. The government’s ban on foreign control is set for a vote in the House of Lords, with potential passage required in both Houses of Parliament for implementation.

Source – CGTN

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