An organisation called Let’s Own The News is attempting to purchase The Times and Sunday Times with money from crowd funding.
LOTN, which is backed by the Young Foundation, plans to offer News UK £50m for the titles, and is aiming to raise a further £50m to run the papers.
According to its website, 42 supporters have so far pledged £67,830.
Laurie Fitzjohn, founder of the campaign, believes that the current state of the press – in which “five families control 80 per cent of national newspapers we read” – “isn’t a free press and… undermines our democracy”.
He said: “A crowd acquisition of The Times and The Sunday Times would be an important and achievable step in reducing the power of the press barons.”
Simon Willis, chief executive of the Young Foundation, said: “We’re backing this campaign because we want to tackle powerful incumbent institutions and groups that perpetuate inequality. It’s fundamentally undemocratic that such immense power lies with such a small group who can use their influence to shape public opinion in a way that suits them. The media provides an important and constructive function in society, and we hope that this innovative challenge will pique public interest, promote debate, and ultimately disrupt the disproportionate ownership of the UK’s press by a handful of people.”