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UK Government Puts Ban On Foreign Ownership Of Publications, Putting The Daily Telegraph Deal In Doubt

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The government of the United Kingdom said that foreign governments will not be allowed to own UK news magazines or newspapers.

The ban comes after opposition to RedBird IMI, an investment company supported by the United Arab Emirates, attempting to acquire the Daily Telegraph and Spectator. The UAE-funded group expressed their “extreme disappointment by today’s development”.

The government said that the ban would “deliver additional protections for a free press”. The measure, which will be included in an amendment to a new law that is being discussed next week, has the support of Labour.

The government was under increasing pressure from all parties to take action, and on Wednesday it could lose in the House of Lords due to peers’ demands for swift action.

In announcing the prohibition, Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay stated that the new legislation would “rule out newspaper and periodical news magazine mergers involving ownership, influence or control by foreign states”.

He continued saying that to prevent such deals, the government will present an amendment to the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill, which has its third reading next week. Additionally, Lord Parkinson affirmed that broadcasters would not be subject to the takeover restriction.

This occurs concurrently with the investment fund RedBird IMI’s ongoing efforts to assume ownership of the Sunday Telegraph and Daily newspaper titles, as well as the current affairs magazine Spectator, following the settlement of its former owner’s debts.

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