UAE-backed bid for Telegraph raises fears of Gulf ‘newswashing’

UAE-backed bid for Telegraph raises fears of Gulf ‘newswashing’

Deal could be referred to Ofcom but some analysts say concerns about foreign influence may be overstated.

Shortly after midday on Monday, an email arrived in the inbox of staff at the Daily Telegraph from their editor. “Over the weekend a number of you have asked me questions about the future ownership of the Telegraph,” Chris Evans wrote. “You’ve been asking me how we can be confident that editorial independence would be protected. At the moment I know no more than you will have read.”

After a turbulent week at one the UK’s biggest and most influential newspapers, the staff of the broadsheet are not the only ones to be concerned.

Speculation about potential buyers had been rife since the Telegraph and its stablemate the Spectator were put up for sale after the failure of its previous owners the Barclay family to repay debts of £1.15bn to Lloyds Banking Group.

Journalists, media watchers and Conservative MPs seemed blindsided this week when RedBird IMI, an investment consortium led by the former CNN president Jeff Zucker and financially backed by the Manchester City owner and vice-president of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, moved to take control in return for repaying the Barclays’ debts.

It sparked fears that the influence of Gulf states, which has pervaded football’s Premier League, was spreading to the UK’s media landscape, with one source inside the Telegraph saying: “We’ve had sportswashing, are we now seeing newswashing?”

Read more:


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.