Saturday, 12 October 2013

52.2% of our "free press" is controlled by 2 billionaires and 77.8% by 6 billionaires.

Lord Justice Leveson referred in his report to the privileged position that the press hold in our public debate. He said that they "wield a powerful megaphone". Unsurprisingly, the press have used their powerful megaphone in the service of the interests of the men who are their effective owners. 

It matters for those concerned with our democracy that 52.2% of our "free press" is controlled by just two billionaires and 77.8% is controlled by six billionaires. 

The freedom the press enjoys is very much freedom for the rich and powerful. As Isaiah Berlin warned, liberty for the wolves means death to the lambs. Some regulation of the press is needed in order to protect the interests of those that are not rich and powerful.

The Press Gazette has published the results of the National Readership Survey. I have used these results - for both print and online - to draw up tables with readerships and information about owners and political orientation.

UK press weekly print and on-line readership (for papers over 1 million) in March 2013
Newspaper(s)
Combined print and online readership
(In brackets print alone)
Effective owner/s


Information about effective owner/s
Political orientation of newspaper/s
% of  combined print and online (In brackets print alone)
The Sun/The Sun on Sunday
13,674,000
(12,765,000)
Rupert Murdoch
Billionaire. Lives in US.
Supported Tories in 2010
18.6%
(20.7%)
The Mail/ Mail on Sunday
12,188,000
(9,534,000)
Lord Rothermere
Billionaire. Lives in France.
Non-domiciled for UK tax
Supported Tories in 2010
16.5%
(15.5%)
Metro
 7,986,000
(7,597,000)
Lord Rothermere
Billionaire. Lives in France.
Non-domiciled for UK tax
Supported Tories in 2010
10.8%
(12.3%)
Mirror/Sunday Mirror/ People
 7,874,000
(7,063,000)
Trinity Mirror plc


Public Limited Company
Supported Labour in 2010
10.7%
(11.4%)
The Guardian/The Observer
 5,342,000
(2,898,000)
Scott Trust Ltd
Supported Lib Dems in 2010
7.3%
(4.7%)
Telegraph/ Sunday Telegraph
 4,998,000
(3,128,000)
David and Frederick Barclay
Billionaires. Live on private island near Sark.
Supported Tories in 2010
6.8%
(5.1%)
The Times/ Sunday Times
 4,608,000
(4,418,000)
Rupert Murdoch
Billionaire. Lives in US.
Alleged tax avoider.
Supported Tories in 2010
6.3%
(7.2%)
The Independent/ i/Independent on Sunday
 4,002,000
(2,770,000)
Alexander (father)and Evgeny (son) Lebedev
Alexander is a billionaire, ex-KGB and lives in Russia. Evgeny lives in the UK
Supported anti-Tory tactical voting in 2010
5.4%
(4.5%)
London Evening Standard
 3,850,000
(3,443,000)
Alexander and Evgeny Lebedev
Alexander is billionaire, ex-KGB and lives in Russia. Evgeny lives in UK
Supported Tories in 2010
5.2%
(5.6%)
Daily Express/Sunday Express
 3,118,000
(2,756,000)
Richard Desmond
Billionaire pornographer.
Supported Tories in 2010
4.2%
(4.5%)
Daily Star/Daily Star Sunday
 2,972,000
(2,873,000)
Richard Desmond
Billionaire pornographer.
Alleged tax avoider.
Supported Tories in 2010



4.0%
(4.7%)
Daily Record/ Sunday Mail
 1,719,000
(1,527,000)
Trinity Mirror plc
Public limited company
Supported Labour in 2010
2.3%
(2.5%)
Financial Times
 1,339,000
   (928,000)
Pearson plc
Public limited company
Supported Tories in 2010
1.8%
(1.5%)
TOTALS
73,670,000
(61,700,000)





Readership of UK press (for papers over 1 million) in March 2013 by effective owners
Effective owner(s)
%  of combined print and online (In brackets print alone)
Lord Rothermere
27.3       (27.8)

Rupert Murdoch
24.9       (27.9)

Trinity Mirror plc
13.0       (13.9)

Alexander and Evgeny Lebedev
10.6       (10.1)

Richard Desmond
  8.2        (9.2)

Scott Trust
  7.3       (4.7)

David and Frederick Barclay
  6.8       (5.1)

Pearson plc
  1.8       (1.5)



8 comments:

  1. Excellent chart. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Very useful summary. Many thanks.

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  3. Thanks for this very useful clarity; not seen in the mainstream unsurprisingly, turkeys are not famous for publicising Christmas.
    One request: would you be able to add a row for the figures for 'those informed by a Tory-supporting news source vs Labour / other' (in your own better words) - it's already clear there's a massive majority on the Tory side, and with our pop at democracy coming round again in May particularly it might be worth highlighting. Thanks a lot.
    PS - pls take a look at step-back.org when it's back up and running in a 'relaunch' within a few days hopefully.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Total % is 120% is that correct?
    I don't doubt the veracity. Just a wee query

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, 2 control 52%, but if you count the next 4 in, between the 6 of them they control 78%

      Delete
  5. Total % is 120% is that correct?
    I don't doubt the veracity. Just a wee query

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
  6. Barclay Brothers also own The Herald newspaper, but most of its circulation is in Scotland, so maybe not relevant for UK wide percentages

    ReplyDelete