Johnston Press chief executive John Fry has said he is ‘uncomfortable’ about the idea of a long-term public subsidy to allow local TV services to be run.
Speaking at a Westminster Media Forum on the future of local media in the UK, he said he was against subsidies, which were ‘out of tune with the music of the times’.
Last week, Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt unveiled plans for a national TV channel which would host up to 60 local TV stations and is expected to be partly funded by the BBC.
Mr Fry said Johnston Press may be interested in getting involved as a partner in local TV, but called for “clarity” about the withdrawal of subsidies.
Mr Fry said: “The newspaper business has always fiercely independent and hates being beholden to anybody. This enables us to maintain our impartiality and prevent bias.
“The TV business, while being obliged through regulation to be impartial, always appears to have an eye on Government and regulators.
“I can see the argument that subsidy might be used to get a project off the ground, but we should have clarity on when it is to be withdrawn.
“Subsidy is out of tune with the music of the times, creates potentially dangerous distortions and…. well it makes me uncomfortable.”