Prime Minister: paywalls don’t work

13 Apr 2010
Gordon Brown

The Prime Minister has set himself in opposition to Rupert Murdoch by denouncing paywalls as unworkable

Gordon Brown has dismissed digital paywalls as unworkable.

The Prime Minister said plans to make news readers pay for online content can’t work “in the way that people think… [as] people have got used to getting content without having to pay”.

"People will pay for certain things, and should pay for certain things, but I think there’s a whole sort of element of communication that’s got to be free. People mind paying for basic news,” he added, in an interview with The Radio Times.

His comments come just weeks after News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch announced his British titles would be moving behind a paywall. Both The Times and The Sunday Times will be pay-only from June, with The Sun and The News of the World expected to follow soon.

Murdoch has long accused news aggregators such as Google News of stealing content from newspapers, even threatening to sue sites who offer links to his content.

Brown’s comments come seven months after some of Murdoch’s UK titles publicly switched their allegiances to the Conservatives after backing the Labour party for 12 years. The Sun, which has the highest readership of the national dailies, attacked the Labour Government during the party’s annual conference and announced it was backing the Tories in the General Election.

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