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England prohibits foreign countries from buying newspapers

England prohibits foreign countries from buying newspapers

The Vice President of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) cannot take control Daily Telegraph, a major right-wing British newspaper. The British government announced on Wednesday March 13 that it would introduce an amendment to the law that would ban the takeover of a newspaper or magazine. “Foreign Government”Including “Agents of Foreign Governments Acting in Private Capacity”. This particularly precise definition targets Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, a member of Abu Dhabi's ruling family and vice president of the United Arab Emirates, who launched the bid for the daily in November 2023.

“A foreign takeover of a British media company risks destroying trust [des lecteurs], Stephen Parkinson, UK Under-Secretary for Culture and Media explains. All foreign states have their own interests, which is perfectly understandable, and these do not necessarily coincide with British interests. »

The decision ends months of controversy over its sale Daily TelegraphThis is what the British media landscape is all about Le Figaro of France. The Barclay family, which had owned it since 2004, was close to bankruptcy and defaulted on part of its debts. In the summer of 2023, its lender, Lloyds Banking Group, decided to take over the newspaper and weekly magazine. the observerVery influential in conservative circles, and put them up for sale.

Read the decryption: The article is reserved for our subscribers In the United Arab Emirates, the “MBZ” clan increases its grip on the state apparatus

In December 2023, the bank accepted an offer from IMI, a private fund owned by Sheikh Mansour (owner of Manchester City football team) and RedBird, an American private equity fund led by former CNN boss Jeff Zucker. IMI owns 75% of the joint venture.

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Risks Against Editorial Freedom

The acquisition caused quite a stir. Nearly 150 delegates, mainly conservatives, made their opposition public. The current management of the daily and the magazine also led the protest against threats to their editorial freedom. “If governments start owning a newspaper, whether it's a British government, or a European or Arab government, freedom of the press will be fatally compromised.”Fraser Nelson, editor-in-chief of the observer.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak initially believed that the existing powers of the British government were sufficient to prevent a takeover. He referred the matter to the Office of Communications, the Media Regulator and the Competition and Markets Authority, which will have to decide on the matter. But security was insufficient for many British elected officials.

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