Mandelson rejects Government bailout of newspapers

Business secretary Lord Mandelson has said that he does not believe in a Government bailout of the country’s beleaguered regional newspaper industry through subsidies.

He has said, however, that there may be other ways of aiding the industry through public sector advertising and relaxed cross-media ownership rules, which are currently under review.

Lord Mandelson told Press Gazett yesterday: “I don’t think that government subsidies are the right way forward.

“But where we can help in maintaining public sector advertising and applying cross media competition rules, we should certainly consider doing so.”

Lord Mandelson was speaking after the Journalists’ Charity annual lunch in London, at which he was the guest speaker.

The Government has asked Ofcom and the Office of Fair Trading to examine calls from big regional newspaper publishers such as Trinity Mirror to relax media ownership rules to allow further newspaper mergers.

Regional newspaper groups are also concerned that they may lose public sector advertising to local authority-owned newspapers, TV channels and websites.

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