Telegraph staff wary of Springer's editorial principles

Telegraph journalists, wary of being taken over by German publisher Axel Springer, say they do not want to sign up to its five “essential principles”.

The publisher of four million circulation Bild is understood to be one of the five last bidders in the race to buy Hollinger International and/or the Telegraph Group.

The others are the Daily Mail and General Trust, the Barclay brothers, Apax/Candover and 3i.

Axel Springer’s five principles include the further unification of Europe, to support the “vital rights” of the state of Israel and to uphold the principles of a “free social market economy”.

Telegraph Group NUJ Father of Chapel John Carey said: “People are concerned about the implications of having to sign up to any set of principles as a condition of employment.

At the moment there is some confusion about what Springer’s position is on this – we simply want them to spell it out.”

The NUJ chapel has also set up a three-man committee to talk to bidders and represent the views of staff.

Journalists say bidders should honour agreements over pay and conditions signed with management earlier this year.

The committee is preparing a formal submission to Ofcom and the DTI.

Axel Springer declined to speak to Press Gazette, but there were reports this week that its £550m bid for the Telegraph titles was considered too low by parent company Hollinger International.

By Dominic Ponsford

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