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July 13 2010

09:53

David Mitchell breaks ranks to question Guardian paywall stance

As the Times and Sunday Times’ paywalls went up earlier this month, the Guardian welcomed a former Times blogger and readers to its website with some cheeky editorial.

The Times has done the same with columnists from the paper writing and blogging about their support for paid content. But interesting space on Comment is Free on Sunday was given over to some-time Guardian writer and comedian David Mitchell, who took the title’s strategy to task:

By implying that it thinks content should be free for moral reasons, the Guardian website is playing an extremely dangerous game. It’s an approach which not only makes it hypocritical to charge for the printed newspaper and the iPhone app, but also gives hostages to fortune: what if the Murdoch paywall, or some other “micropayment” system, starts to work? Are we to believe that the Guardian wouldn’t institute something similar? Or would it be happy to be reduced to the online equivalent of a freesheet?

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