DMGT Director Demands Eligibility Test for UK Press Owners

08 July 2002

A senior director of British media group Daily Mail & General Trust, owner of mid-market giant the Daily Mail, has told the government to prevent unsuitable businessmen buying newspapers.

Addressing the Parliamentary Joint Scrutiny Committee, the cross-party group charged with examining the government-sponsored Communications Bill, DMGT legal director Harvey Kaas called for the introduction of a strict test to assess a prospective owner’s eligibility.

“Is the proprietor in the long-term interests of the newspaper?”, he asked. “If the paper falls in the wrong hands it might cease to exist a few years down the line, or a few Downing Street dinners later.”

No prizes for guessing which name sprang first to onlookers’ minds – pornography baron Richard Desmond, who bought the Daily Mail’s arch rival the Daily Express in 2000 and was recently revealed to have donated to the governing Labour Party.

Kaas also suggested that regulatory power over media deals should fall under the remit of the competition commission, not forthcoming communications super-watchdog Ofcom. The limits of Ofcom’s authority have yet to finalised.

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff