Tuesday 18 May 2010, Radio Theatre, BBC Broadcasting House, London.

The Media Show, presented by journalist and former TV executive Steve Hewlett ,  is BBC Radio 4's weekly look at the fast-changing media world. A question on every newspaper editor's mind is whether to charge people who want to read their websites. "Because news costs, because quality costs ... because free isn't sustainable, because free is too expensive" - the words of  Les Hinton, chief executive of the Wall Street Journal's publisher, part of News Corporation.

At the Guardian, Alan Rusbridger has ruled out paywalls and warned that rushing to introduce them could see the industry "sleepwalk into oblivion". The Daily Mail has said "readers will not pay to consume general news on the web".

Rupert Murdoch disagrees. He is already charging online readers of the Wall Street Journal and, from June, the Times and Sunday Times will start charging £1 a day, or a weekly subscription, for access to their websites.


The Sun and the News of the World will follow. The Sunday Times will get its own dedicated website in a move editor John Witherow describes as "a hugely significant moment for the paper". 

Who is right? And, as some claim, does the survival of the free press rely on Murdoch's plans succeeding?

You can join Steve Hewlett in the BBC's Radio Theatre discussing the issues with Alan Rusbridger and John Witherow. There will be an opportunity for some members of the audience to put questions to the panel - please email them in advance to themediashow@bbc.co.uk.

The Media Show - the Great Paywall Debate

Tuesday 18 May 2010


The Radio Theatre

BBC Broadcasting House


Click here for more details and to apply for tickets. 

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