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2nd August 2015

FT Staff Request Written Confirmation of 'Editorial Independence'

Staff at The Financial Times have written to new owners Nikkei requesting a written guarantee that the title will retain editorial independence.

Nikkei were announced as the new owners of The Financial Times last week.

They purchased The Financial Times Group from Pearson for £844M.

At the time of purchase, no guarantees of editorial independence were agreed.

The 580 journalists at The Financial Times are represented by the National Union of Journalists (NUJ). Representatives from the NUJ said: “As an independent part of the already fiercely independent culture at the Financial Times, we would like to open a dialogue with you that offers us more detail on the terms of the sale and on the future structure of the company as part of the close communications that you are urging.

“As a democratic voice within the FT culture, the NUJ chapel (branch) has urged fairness and transparency in its work culture and its conditions of employment. We would like reassurance that this will continue under your leadership.

“Our regular meetings with managers have been an important part of managing change - including digital change. As you are an employee-owned organisation, I would hope that you would acknowledge and respect this tradition of worker participation.

“Importantly, many FT journalists would like to see editorial independence enshrined in our governance, with all staff playing a part in this process.”

Tsuneo Kita, chairman of Nikkei, assured journalists that editorial independence would remain. In a letter, he said: "The Financial Times will continue to enjoy complete editorial independence and freedom, just as all news organisations should have. We hope that John Ridding and his management team will continue to lead the trustworthy pink paper into this new chapter.

“We want the FT to be extremely profitable, and we want to achieve this through investments that lead to more customers and exciting new products, not through a reduction of the workforce.

“Nikkei is a private, employee-owned company. We are not under pressure to pursue short-term financial performance.

“Our style is to make investments based on a long-term perspective, and we hope to invest in the FT in order to bring out its full potential.

“In the course of this transaction, we have made these points clear to your management numerous times, but we wanted to reiterate them to every one of you."

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