Paul Dacre: former editor of the Daily Mail leaves the race to the head of Ofcom
Former Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre has withdrawn from the competition to become the next president of media regulator Ofcom.
In a letter to the Times, said he would not reappear for the role after his initial application was turned down by a recruiting committee.
The process is currently being restarted after initial interviews failed to settle on a candidate.
But Dacre said he has now decided to take on an “exciting new job in the private sector.”
Ofcom has extensive powers over television, radio, telecommunications and postal services, dealing with licensing, complaints and much more.
It is set to receive new powers to regulate social media companies as part of the government’s online safety bill.
- The Ofcom chair selection process must be restarted
- Paul Dacre and Ofcom: what’s going on?
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Dacre, 73, who left the Daily Mail in 2018 after more than a quarter of a century as an editor, had been seen as Downing Street’s favorite for the job at Ofcom.
The Times quoted him as describing his candidacy experience for the role as an “unhappy flirtation” with “the Blob” – a term sometimes used to refer to the Whitehall establishment.
The reporter, known for his conservative views, also said his “strong convictions” led him to be deemed “unnameable”.
He wrote that Ofcom would face a “staggering challenge” in trying to regulate the “omnipotent”, “ruthless” and “amoral” tech giants “without harming freedom of expression.”
She also said she would “die in a ditch” to defend the BBC, but had to be “saved from both herself and the frighteningly well-endowed streaming giants.”
A spokesperson for the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said the recruitment process for the Ofcom presidency was “fair and open”.
“The process is regulated by the commissioner for public appointments, who is responsible for ensuring that the appointment is made according to strict guidelines,” they added.
‘Perceived lack of impartiality’
Meanwhile, a group of Scottish and Welsh ministers wrote to Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries asking to be included in the process to appoint a new Ofcom president.
Ministers say they are “extremely concerned” about a “perceived lack of impartiality and transparency” in the process.
Involving decentralized governments in the decision would help maintain “credibility”, ministers added.
The two-page document was signed by Angus Robertson, Scottish Culture Secretary, and Kate Forbes, Scotland’s Secretary of Finance and Economy, as well as Welsh Government Deputy Arts Minister Dawn Bowden, and her Deputy climate change minister, Lee Waters. .
Ministers shared concern that the protracted process “could adversely affect the position of the public service broadcasting system, whose job is to serve all nations.”
- Paul Dacre
Paul Dacre and Ofcom: what’s going on?
- May 28
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