The Independent’s Bold Statement

The Independent’s catchy tagline ‘Free From Proprietorial Influence’ is certainly a brave promise to feature at the top of a national newspaper.

The Independent is owned by Russian oligarch Alexander Lebedev – the 488th richest person in the world according to Forbes.com. Lebedev also owns a 75.1% share in the Evening Standard newspaper which he acquired from the Daily Mail and General Trust back in 2009.

Quoted on the Guardian.co.uk in January 2009, Lebedev stated: “I will very meticulously state that it is not polite for a Russian to interfere in British politics. My influence will be zero.”

Zero? Surely we are all subjects to those who hold power. Whether it means smiling at a boss you detest, or attending a staff party you abhor – these actions are means-to-a-survival-end.

Regardless of how impartial, proportionate and unbiased our objectives, if someone directly or indirectly provides us with the money we use to feed ourselves, then those objectives will be subject to their influence, regardless.

So how likely is it that The Independent or any newspaper or publication will not be influenced by the individual(s) that pay their wages? Whether a proprietor wishes it or not, their influence will always be more than zero, simply through the ownership and the power they have sought.

Daniel Marsh

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