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At the outbreak of World War I Reuters was a public company with a widely dispersed and large group of shareholders, including shareholders in Germany. Under the pressure of wartime conditions, the British government determined that, for security reasons, it needed to find a mechanism to achieve greater control of the company and the news it distributed. Censorship laws were, on their own, deemed inadequate to this purpose. In the event, the public company, Reuters Telegram Company, was liquidated following a generous buyout offer to shareholders. It was replaced by a private company, Reuters (1916) Limited. Under secret arrangements, this company was structured so as to enable effective British government control of its operations. This paper examines the relationship between Reuters and the British government via an analysis of archival materials held in the British National Archives and the Reuters Company Archives.
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Keywords: British Government; Reuters; World War I; news agencies; politics; press

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2008-08-01

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