Monday, 29 March 2010

Heather Brooke joins attack on council papers

Award winning Freedom of Information campaigning journalist Heather Brooke joined the attack on local council newspapers today when she appeared on BBC Radio 4's Start the Week, presented by Andrew Marr.
Brooke told how her interest in FoI started at a local level when she tried to find out how the authorities were dealing with anti-social behaviour in her area.
Marr suggested this was the type of issue that used to be covered by local journalists. He said one of the most striking points in Brooke's new book - The Silent State -  was the way the livelihoods and function of local journalists has been "increasingly usurped by propaganda papers put out by local councils."
Brooke replied: "This is something we have to think about in a society. Do we accept we have no outside scrutiny anymore of our democratic institutions?"
She said if you go to almost any council meeting or court in Britain today you won't find a newspaper reporter. "We have whole tranches of public life now in which there is no outside scrutiny. The point I make in the book is that we may not like the idea of having to pay [via subsidies] for it but we we are going to be paying for it in terms of corruption in the future if we don't have that."
She said her book features the competition between Tower Hamlet Council's East End Life and the local paper East London Advertiser.
You can listen to the interview on BBC i-player

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