Newspapers will be gagged "to protect toffs" if plans by the press to regulate themselves are thrown out by politicians this week, Rupert Murdoch has said. The media tycoon, who owns The Times, The Sunday Times and The Sun newspapers, also criticised the BBC, calling it a "taxpayer-funded mouthpiece for [the] tiny circulation Leftist Guardian".
The comments are his first on the subject since he was questioned by MPs at the height of the phone hacking scandal last year. In an entry on Twitter, Murdoch wrote: "BBC massive taxpayer funded mouthpiece for tiny circulation Leftist Guardian. Meanwhile print media about to be gagged to protect toffs."
That followed another entry: "Huge lack of balance in UK media with 8,000 BBC Left-wing journalists far outnumbering all national print journalists." He made the remarks a day before a group of politicians on the Privy Council decides whether to accept a proposal for self-regulation by newspapers.
Simon Hughes, deputy leader of the Lib Dems, said the decision would not be affected by the row over the Daily Mail's articles about Ed Miliband's father Ralph. He suggested the council's sub-committee looking at press regulation had made its decision.