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Should government ministers be allowed to write articles in newspapers that have a pay wall?

(17 Posts)
ElderlyPerson Sun 19-Sep-21 14:26:26

Should government ministers be allowed to write articles in newspapers that have a pay wall?

Often on television news it has something like

"Writing in the (newspaper) the (minister) writes ..."

But looking for it on the web there is a pay wall.

I say that if they are in office and have something to say it should be in a free-to-access government web page and if the media want to report it fine.

It is not a matter of whether they are paid a fee even if a fee goes to a charitable cause, but they are there to do the job and if they have something to say it shoukd be said to everybody on equal terms not so that a person needs to pay money to a commercial organisation to read it.

Ilovecheese Sun 19-Sep-21 14:29:03

I think that they should reproduce the article on their own Twitter feed or website, the day after the printed version of the newspaper is in the shops.
I think the same for opposition leaders and MPs

ElderlyPerson Sun 19-Sep-21 14:42:41

Hmm. I wonder if that would be allowed.

I wonder who owns the copyright at that time, do they assign copyright?

Would they need to ask permission?

Ilovecheese Sun 19-Sep-21 14:48:43

I don't know the answer with newspapers but as a comparison, if I sell a design to a magazine, they own the copyright until they publish the design, then the copyright reverts to me.
I enjoy a paper copy of a newspaper and don't want to see them fold for lack of paying readership, but on the other hand ministers and all MPs should be heard by all citizens, not just the ones that pay.

Baggs Sun 19-Sep-21 15:07:26

In a free country people should be allowed to do anything that isn't illegal or absolutely wrong.

I'd count writing in a publication that not everyone will read as not absolutely wrong. Annoying to some, maybe, but not wrong.

Rosie51 Sun 19-Sep-21 19:43:18

If the minister or whoever is writing in their official role then it shouldn't only be available at a price. If they are writing something outside of that role in a personal capacity then fine, publish wherever they want.

lemongrove Sun 19-Sep-21 19:57:05

Baggs

In a free country people should be allowed to do anything that isn't illegal or absolutely wrong.

I'd count writing in a publication that not everyone will read as not absolutely wrong. Annoying to some, maybe, but not wrong.

I agree.👍🏻

MayBeMaw Sun 19-Sep-21 20:21:45

A novel idea - buy the newspaper.

Why should it be free to some while others pay for it?
Information from a government department will usually be available on a gov.U.K. website.
Newspapers are in business.
And before you say you can’t go,out to buy a paper, take out an online subscription.
I pay for mine- why shouldn’t you?

Rosie51 Sun 19-Sep-21 22:44:29

Information from a government department will usually be available on a gov.U.K. website. It should always be available on a government website. Private musings can be in any publication and yes, if you want to read them, then you pay for the privilege.

MayBeMaw Sun 19-Sep-21 23:03:03

OK I chose the wrong word!
will be available - better?

Rosie51 Sun 19-Sep-21 23:32:25

MayBeMaw

OK I chose the wrong word!
will be available - better?

As long as anything even remotely official is available free I'm fine with it. smile I do take your point about newspapers being a business and the need to pay, I just worry that creep may mean some information could be imparted behind a paywall.

Doodledog Sun 19-Sep-21 23:51:16

It’s an interesting question, but in the end, I agree with Maw. If a minister or MP writes an article that is paid for by the newspaper then it is reasonable for them to expect readers to pay to read it, as they would have had to do before the Internet. A lot of people refuse to pay for downloads, as there is nothing to hold in their hand so they think they are paying for nothing, which is not the case.

On the other hand, as being a minister is supposed to be a full-time job, they should donate the fee to their party, or to their constituents, just as most employees would have to do if they earned money from ‘moonlighting’.

grannyactivist Mon 20-Sep-21 00:05:49

Doodledog my then local (Conservative) MP once asserted that in fact being an MP is NOT a job, but a ‘role’ leaving one (i.e. him) to pursue other lucrative income streams. See below for a direct quote.

”The problem lies in a misunderstanding that being an MP is a job. It isn’t really, it is more a representative role…… If an MP uses his time efficiently he has plenty of room for other interests. I, for example, have some paid outside interests.”

ElderlyPerson Mon 20-Sep-21 00:29:15

MayBeMaw

A novel idea - buy the newspaper.

Why should it be free to some while others pay for it?
Information from a government department will usually be available on a gov.U.K. website.
Newspapers are in business.
And before you say you can’t go,out to buy a paper, take out an online subscription.
I pay for mine- why shouldn’t you?

Oh a preemptive strike! smile

> I pay for mine- why shouldn’t you?

Because I'm male.

Doodledog Mon 20-Sep-21 00:40:56

Hmmm. It’s not a bad salary (if it is a salary) for a non-job, is it? ‘Plenty of room for other interests’, indeed. How many of us can say, or could have said that when we were working full-time? (Or when we were role-playing representing our constituents).

ElderlyPerson Mon 20-Sep-21 00:41:13

Rosie51

^Information from a government department will usually be available on a gov.U.K. website.^ It should always be available on a government website. Private musings can be in any publication and yes, if you want to read them, then you pay for the privilege.

But should someone in a public office write private musings directly related to his or her duties and be involved in them published exclusively by a commercial organisation?

But should it be a right to read them free without linkage to a commercial organisation?

Has a sub-editor altered it in any way?

Do they ever publish a statement that it has not been sub-edited and that the words are exactly those written, no alterations, no cuts?

Silverbridge Mon 20-Sep-21 02:18:13

Journalism is a mix of fact and opinion. Facts relating to government will be published elsewhere and freely. It is your choice whose opinions ... or as you describe them - private musings - you wish to read. Or if you do wish to read the musings of politicians you could buy a current affairs magazine or biography or borrow library copies ... which you pay for via local taxes.

Newspapers have always relied heavily on advertising revenue. Paywalls compensate for the use of adblocking software. They encourage people to either buy a subscription or buy a paper copy. As others have said, news is business and it’s a business decison whether to operate a paywall. Not all newspapers do. You might like to think about which ones do and which ones don’t and why that might be.

It’s worth pointing out that you only have this free outlet for your opinions because of Mumset and Gransnet advertising revenue.

The cost of your television news is paid for by licence, advertising revenue on free-to-air commercial channels of via subscription to digital TV apps, in other words, we pay for news in one way or another.