Brown takes swipe at Murdoch newspapers

Warns media industry about Conservative policy position

LONDON -- British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has taken a sideswipe at Rupert Murdoch's British newspapers, warning the media industry here that a Conservative government would follow a News International-friendly policy agenda if they win the next election.

News International, which is part of News Corp., owns a stable of newspapers here including the Times, the Sunday Times, the Sun and the News of the World. All have all backed Labour's rival, the Conservative Party, to win the election.

"When you look at the Conservative party's policy position on the future of the digital industries, and when you look at the News International policy position, they are very similar," Brown said in a newspaper interview. "And I think I would be very worried if I were any other media company or any other organization."

Brown went on to suggest that such a News International-driven policy agenda might affect free access to digital services. "You've got to be in a position that guarantees to the public 100% digital access, otherwise there's basic human equalities being denied to people about access to the Internet," he says.

Speaking in an interview in the London Evening Standard, and with just over 24 hours before Britons head for the polls, Brown faces what looks like a political drubbing as growing support for the center-left Liberal Democrat party threatens to push Labour into third place.

The collapse in public confidence has led to traditional Labour supporting newspapers shifting their support, while the News International-owned Sun newspaper has been vociferously supportive of Conservative leader David Cameron.

"I've had a tough two years from the press," Brown told the newspaper. I'm not complaining because basically at the end of the day the people will make up their mind. A number of newspapers are trying to run the election, they are trying to dictate the election. I think they have made a mistake," he added.
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