Ten of Scotland’s major newspapers are owned by just three men: Rupert Murdoch, Lord Rothermere and Frederick Barclay. They are all billionaires who, personally or through their businesses, have used the law to avoid paying tax.
Analysis by The Ferret reveals that all but one of Scotland’s national newspapers, The Sunday Post, are owned in other countries. As many as 25 titles are run by firms in London, eight of which belong to parent companies in the US and Asia.
Media campaigners, who believe Scotland’s media is “dominated by a small group of corporations with a narrow range of views”, called for reform.
Reach PLC publishes the most Scottish nationals – Daily Record, Sunday Mail, Daily Star of Scotland, Scottish Daily Express and Scottish Sunday Express, as well as The Mirror.
The company also publishes a number of weekly newspapers including the Dumbarton Lennox Herald, but no longer has an office, pictured above, in Dumbarton.
The London-based firm is chaired by Nicholas Prettejohn, who was a member of the now-closed BBC Trust and chief executive of insurance giants Prudential and Lloyd’s of London. He also chairs Scottish Widows and is non-executive director of Lloyds Banking Group.
Glasgow-born Jim Mullen, Reach’s chief executive, held senior roles at gambling firms. He is also non-executive director of Racecourse Media Group and former director of digital strategy and product management at News UK.
The London-based News UK publishes the Scottish Sun, Scottish Sun on Sunday, and the Scotland editions of The Times and Sunday Times. Chief executive Rebekah Brooks was an editor of The Sun, and the publisher’s now-defunct tabloid, News of World, which ceased publication following a phone hacking scandal.
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This article was updated to correct the name of Reach chairman, Nicholas Prettlejohn. We previously stated his name was Richard Prettlejohn. We also removed a line that said Gannett’s chief executive and president was Paul Bascobert. We later learned that Bascobert had left the company, which had not updated its website’s list of board members.