In an interview with the Radio Times, the prime minister said he thought most people "have got used to getting content without having to pay", and that there is "a whole sort of element of communication that's got to be free."
The statement has been received by the Guardian and others as a backlash against Rupert Murdoch following his switch of political allegiance to the Conservatives last year. The media mogul announced in March his intention to charge for his leading titles' online content.
On this showing, Brown is more in line with the free content model of Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, and Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger, who has said that shutting off content behind pay-walls is a dangerous move for newspapers.
This argument was supported by research last month finding 82 per cent of readers loyal to a website would go elsewhere if asked to pay.