Thursday, 28 January 2010

NS: 'Government must act on council papers'

The Newspaper Society is calling for an urgent meeting with the Government to ensure curbs are placed on council publications which take private sector advertising in  competition with the local press.
“Central government must not turn a blind eye to this practice any longer,” said NS director David Newell.“It undermines local democracy and must be stopped."
Newelladded: “In light of the urgency of the problem, widely acknowledged by senior ministers when the Digital Britain report was published last June, and the subsequent catalogue of quango delays and buck-passing, it is vital that the Government intervenes immediately to prohibit local authorities from setting themselves as newspaper publishers and competing with local newspapers for advertising revenues.”
His comments follow the findings of an Audit Commission investigation that concluded spending on council publications was "not unreasonable".
Trinity Mirror chief executive Sly Bailey branded the investigation a“complete waste of time” as it did not look at the impact of council newspapers on independent local media.
She added: “The government should stop trying to pass the buck to bodies that cannot tackle the core issues and must take direct action and intervene immediately before it is too late for some local newspapers.”

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