Governments must bail out newspapers: Sir Martin Sorrell

Governments must support newspapers that are on the verge of collapse, said Sir Martin Sorrell, chie

In an interview with Arabian Business, a Middle Eastern business weekly, Sir Martin cited the example of the Guardian Media Group (GMG), which made losses of £90m in the year ending March 2009. "It should not go on losing money. The government should subsidise it or give tax advantages to people to subsidise it," he said.

Sorrell compared the state of the newspapers to the state of banks, and said "newspapers provide a vital service". Governments should decide whether consolidation and closures in the media are appropriate from an editorial point of view.

Declining ad revenues have forced many media companies to explore alternative sources of revenue, such as charging for online content to make up for the decline in advertising. Though advertising losses are decreasing, there was still no sign of recovery, Sorrell added.