The Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills has declined the request from the owners of the Nottingham Evening Post to be released from the requirement to have an independent editorial board for the newspaper.
The independent editorial board was set up following Daily Mail and General Trust’s (DMGT) acquisition of the Nottingham Evening Post in 1994, to ensure the title retains its editorial independence.
This condition was imposed following concerns about the potential impact on the range of views and opinions expressed on local matters in the region since DMGT also owned a number of other local newspaper titles in the region.
The Secretary of State concluded that there presently remains a valid reason to retain the commitment. Ensuring that people have access to a sufficiently wide range of views and opinions on both local and national matters and preventing too much influence becoming concentrated in too few hands remain legitimate concerns for the Government.
The full text of the Secretary of State’s decision can be viewed at the following web link: http://www.berr.gov.uk/whatwedo/businesslaw/competition/mergers/public-interest/newspaper/index.html
Notes to editors
1. Prior to the introduction of the Enterprise Act 2002, the transfer of a newspaper to a new proprietor was governed by Section 57 – 62 of the Fair Trading Act 1973. This provided that such transfers were subject to a mandatory investigation by the then Monopolies and Mergers Commission (MMC) and required the written consent of the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry.
2. In June 1993, DMGT applied for consent for its local and regional newspapers arm, Northcliffe Newspapers group Ltd, to acquire the newspapers and assets of T. Bailey Forman Ltd based in the East Midlands area, including the Nottingham Evening Post. The MMC’s report on the proposed acquisition, published on 31 October 1994 (CM 2693), concluded it might be expected to operate against the public interest and recommended consent should be refused. The then Industry Minister announced on 5 December that having agreed with DMGT conditions that addressed the concerns identified by the MMC, he was clearing the acquisition.
3. In March 2002, following a review, most of the conditions imposed in relation to the acquisition were released. The conditions left in place were those requiring Northcliffe to maintain an independent editorial board to oversee key decisions at the Nottingham Evening Post as well as conditions requiring that the owner of the Nottingham Evening Post must include in its Articles of Association specific provisions guaranteeing that editorial decisions at the newspaper rest with the editor.
4. In response to a request from DMGT in 2009 to be released from the remaining conditions, BIS sought the views of interested parties. The full text of the Secretary of State’s decision and the consultation document can be viewed at the following link on BIS’ website: http://www.berr.gov.uk/whatwedo/businesslaw/competition/mergers/public-interest/newspaper/index.html
For more information, please contact the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills press office on 0207 215 3496
Department for Business, Innovation & Skills
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is building a dynamic and competitive UK economy by: creating the conditions for business success; promoting innovation, enterprise and science; and giving everyone the skills and opportunities to succeed. To achieve this it will foster world-class universities and promote an open global economy. BIS - Investing in our future.
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