Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport

'Minded to accept' Times/Sunday Times proposals

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Back in January Rupert Murdoch newspapers the Times and the Sunday Times said they were asking the government for permission to share resources, including journalists, between the two titles.

It made the application to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and was necessary as legal undertakings were made to keep them separate when he bought them in 1981.

Secretary of State Jeremy Wright has said today he is "minded to accept" the proposal.

"However, in considering the proposed new undertakings as a whole, I have noted that the existing governance arrangements - agreed in 1981 - lack clarity and certainty over roles and responsibilities. Before agreeing the application I am therefore of the view that these arrangements need to be suitably updated and enhanced to reflect corporate best practice".

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In a written ministerial statement, Jeremy Wright said he had asked officials at the DCMS to discuss these issues with News UK - the part of Murdoch's News Corp that owns the two papers - and consider new proposals from News UK to update the proposed undertakings.

He said he would update MPs in "due course" on these discussions.

"Should News UK be able to offer revised undertakings which meet my concerns, I will, as required in legislation, consult on the final form of the undertakings before deciding whether or not to accept them," the statement said.

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