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Church shares in News Corporation

10 August 2011

From Mr David Webster


Sir, — I was intrigued to read (News, 15 July) that the Church Commissioners now held shares in Rupert Murdoch’s News Cor­poration.

During my years as a member of the General Synod, from 1975 to 2005, and including some years as an elected Church Commissioner,

I often used to urge the Commis­sioners, as a working journalist, to remove newspaper shares from the blacklist of shares that the Commisioners felt it was ethically wrong to hold. Their response was usually along the lines that they did not want to be identified with any particular political viewpoint or associated with unacceptable news-reporting standards. In the end, I almost came to accept this as a valid reason for non-investment.

So I wonder why this particular restriction was lifted in the past few years. Perhaps another working journalist, the First Church Estates Commissioner, played a part in this, leading to what he described at last month’s Synod meeting as a “ticklish” area. And if this ban was lifted, why were News Corporation shares selected?

But this may be a case of hindsight, something in which many have indulged in the past few weeks.

5 Rosehill Walk
Tunbridge Wells
Kent TN1 1HL

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