Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Tom Kent, head of newspaper ownership inquiry, dead at 89

Tom Kent, who led a 1980 inquiry into newspaper ownership that was known as the Kent Commission, has died at the age of 89. He was a journalist, public servant and an expert on public policy who was named a companion of the Order of Canada in 2001. His son, Oliver Kent, said he died peacefully on Tuesday after a cardiac arrest following surgery. Kent was born in Stafford, England in 1922, studied at Oxford and worked as a code-breaker at the top-secret Bletchley Park facility during World War II. He worked as a journalist in Britain after the war and moved to Canada in 1954 to become editor of the Winnipeg Free Press. He later served as a policy adviser to former prime minister Lester Pearson and became a deputy minister in the Pearson government of the early 1960s.The royal commission was established in response to growing concerns over concentration of ownership in the newspaper business. It was set up following the almost simultaneous closing of papers in Ottawa and Winnipeg that left newspaper monopolies in both cities.

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