Feb 3, 2021

Boris Johnson eyes ex-Mail editor Paul Dacre to run media watchdog

Ministers will soon launch the process to find a new chair for the UK media regulator Ofcom, clearing the path for Boris Johnson's favoured candidate Paul Dacre, the veteran editor of the Daily Mail and vehement critic of the BBC. Oliver Dowden, culture secretary, is expected to stress the "Open and fair" competition when formally starting the search for a permanent successor to Terry Burns, who left the Ofcom board last month. Mr Dacre has been in informal discussions about the post with Mr Johnson since the summer and two senior Whitehall figures said the prime minister appeared intent on appointing the former newspaper editor should he decide to apply. The prospect of Mr Dacre's appointment has already triggered a storm of outrage within the media industry, with concerns over both his political views and qualifications to run a complex regulatory body. Known for his trenchant views, domineering newsroom style and impatience with computers, Mr Dacre clashed with Ofcom on several occasions during his editorship. Mr Johnson initially favoured Charles Moore, his former editor at the Daily Telegraph, to become the BBC's next chair.

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