‘We simply cannot go on allowing things to happen without consumers realising that it has to reported on the Times’s website immediately afterward,’ he said. ‘People are going around living their daily lives completely free, but it’s simply not a sustainable business model for us.’
Murdoch has unveiled a sliding scale of charges. A conversation with the local newsagent about the weather would cost GBP2.99 for two minutes, while anybody involved in a six-car pile-up on the M3 in bad weather causing tailbacks would be charged GBP49.50.
Critics argue that the charges are ‘unreasonable’ and will ‘penalise foreign ministers, celebrities and Amy Winehouse’. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton protested that she would be liable for thousands of dollars every time she ‘opened her mouth about China or Pakistan or wherever’. British politicians, led by Foreign Secretary David Miliband, were equally opposed, although Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg conceded that in his case the charges would be ‘minimal’.