Culture Secretary Matt Hancock has tasked Ofcom with investigating whether Trinity Mirror’s takeover of the Express could impact on editorial decision making at the right-wing tabloid.
As well as considering the impact on freedom of expression and opinion, Mr. Hancock has asked the media regulator to examine whether the deal, which would give Trinity Mirror the second-largest circulation in the UK, would impact on plurality of views.
“I have written to the parties today confirming my decision to issue a public interest intervention notice (PIIN) on both grounds,” Mr. Hancock said Tuesday.
“I will then consider whether or not to refer the merger for a more detailed investigation, or whether to accept undertakings-in-lieu of such a reference,” he added.
The Culture Secretary has given Ofcom until May 31st to complete the investigation, reports The Guardian. He also asked the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which launched its initial investigation in March, to report back on any other competition issues.
Senior figures from Trinity Mirror, an organisation which helped found the radical left HOPE not Hate and was caught up in a fake news scandal after publishing fabricated pictures purporting to show British soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners in 2004, has said it would guarantee that the Labour-supporting media group will not influence right-wing media titles such as the Express.
Regulator Investigates Far-Left Trinity Mirror Acquisition of Right-Wing Daily Express over Media Monopoly Concerns https://t.co/P2DbohHQP9
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) March 6, 2018
Days after the shareholder vote on the takeover of the Richard Desmond-owned newspapers, Daily Express editor Hugh Whittow and the Daily Star‘s editor Dawn Newsom both resigned and were replaced by Sunday Mirror and Sunday People editor Gary Jones and Daily Mirror associate editor Jon Clark respectively.
During a Home Affairs Select Committee last week, formerly the Mirror’s Jones – now editing the Daily Express – told MPs that some of the Express’s past front pages had been “downright offensive” and alleged that they had contributed to an “Islamophobic sentiment” in the media.
“I’ve gone through a lot of former Express front pages and I felt very uncomfortable looking at them,” Jones told MPs. “I wouldn’t want to be party to any newspaper that would publish such material.”