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An early contender for man of the year.

Mathias Döpfner, CEO of Axel Springer, Europe's biggest newspaper group.

And for why?

Because of this interview in Der Spiegel:

"SPIEGEL: In France, President Nicolas Sarkozy will soon subsidize newspaper subscriptions. In Germany, there is talk of government bailouts for ailing media companies.

Döpfner: I hope that this never happens. However, I cannot rule out that a few ailing publishers will come knocking on the government's door. That would be a dark day for freedom of the press in our country, as well as a true violation of a taboo.

SPIEGEL: But what if it were the only way to preserve diversity among newspapers?

Döpfner: The separation between government and the press is the basis of our democratic constitution. I don't see the government as a beverage vending machine, where anyone who happens to be thirsty can grab a drink. In most of the cases to date, I consider these arbitrary subsidies to be regulatory insanity -- including the government bailout of Commerzbank. To put it in exaggerated terms, even a bankrupt media company is better than one that is funded and controlled by the government".

There's plenty of other sinew-stiffening stuff in the interview, but that's the best bit.

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Blogger Newmania said... 4:24 pm

Just read back a bit,forgotten how good it was  

Anonymous Time will Tell said... 5:01 pm

Head of the queue in this country would be The Independent, Guardian/Observer, The Herald, New Statesman and perhaps the Morning Star - and all receive loving and tender care.  

Blogger Croydonian said... 5:20 pm

N - you should come here more often.

TWT - Yup, I think that is exactly how it would shake down.  

OpenID Bishop Hill said... 9:37 pm

I remember the head of MacMillan also telling government to get its nose out of publishing a couple of years back.  

Blogger Blue Eyes said... 12:42 pm

The key point that many in the mainstream media choose to ignore is that if they all went bust there would still be plenty of reporting and commentary. There are no barriers to entry these days, and the world is a better place for it. We don't need an artificially constructed media industry even if governments managed to keep their hands away from the editors' desks.  

Blogger Tiresias said... 1:10 pm

Spiegel: "But what if it [government subsidy] were the only way to preserve diversity among newspapers?"

Thanks for that, Herr Spiegel. The sleepy little village of Hinterwälder-am-Rhein currently has a vacancy for an idiot. I suggest you whack in your CV, pronto.  

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