New analysis suggests News Corp execs visit Downing Street more than any other company in the UK - Press Gazette

New analysis suggests News Corp execs visit Downing Street more than any other company in the UK

New analysis of UK government hospitality registers suggests executives from News Corp are more likely to visit Downing Street than any other company.

The Media Reform Coalition, a campaign group which objects to the the concentration of media powers in the hands of News Corp proprietor Rupert Murdoch, has compiled the data.

It has looked at the quarterly returns filed by government departments detailing meetings with outside organisations from April 2015 to September 2016. The time span covers two governments.

News Corp includes The Sun, Times and Sunday Times newspapersin the UK.

The MRC found there were ten meetings involving News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch (or other senior executives) and either the Prime Minister or the Chancellor.

The MRC says this compares with:

  • six meetings with BBC management
  • four with Independent and Evening Standard owner Evgeny Lebedev
  • and four with Japanese telecoms company Softbank.

The MRC notes: “In September 2016 alone, News Corp CEO Robert Thompson met with Prime Minister Theresa May, Chancellor Philip Hammond and Culture Secretary Karen Bradley. Prime Minister May also met with Rupert Murdoch that month during a one-night trip to New York.”

Chair of the Media Reform Coalition Justin Schlosberg said: “Decades of rampant criminality and corruption within the Murdoch newsrooms does not appear to be of concern to the present government, as senior ministers continue to sit down with News Corp bosses at a rate that dwarfs other companies and organisations. It’s as if it’s part of their job description.”

The MRC said that it did not include meetings with journalists in its data, or hospitality that did not appear to involve a meeting or a discussion (such as tickets to sporting events).

The full data of nearly 1,500 Government meetings logged by the MRC is available here: Murdoch meetings April 2015 to Sep 2016 full dataset.

News Corp declined to comment.



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Author: Dominic Ponsford

Dominic Ponsford is the editor of Press Gazette


3 thoughts on “New analysis suggests News Corp execs visit Downing Street more than any other company in the UK”

  1. Do we trust this research? I can well believe that Murdoch and his team spend more time with the government than most would wish, but I find it incredible that in all that time the only such meetings logged were with News Corp, Lebedev, the Beeb, the CBI, a couple of foreign companies and a couple of banks. No other businesses at all? The MRC may very well have assiduously analysed the material they found, but it beggars belief that this graph of fewer than 50 encounters with nine organisations represents a comprehensive list of all the senior-level meetings held over that period (is it supposed to be 11 or 18months? – the graph doesn’t tally with the text)

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