The Newspaper Society has written to Eric Pickles, the new Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, calling for a meeting to discuss local press concerns about council newspapers and local government advertising practices.
It follows the new coalition government's policy document’s commitment to “impose tougher rules to stop unfair competition by local authority newspapers.”
The letter, written by NS communications director Lynne Anderson, says: “We would like to arrange a meeting with you as soon as possible to brief you on our members’ specific concerns and to discuss the steps the Government plans to take, the type of rules, their likely effectiveness and how quickly these will be imposed, to help ensure that this unfair competition, which has been allowed to develop unchecked and continues to cause real damage to independent local newspapers across the country, can be stopped as a matter of urgency."
It ends: "We would welcome a meeting with you to discuss the problem and to hear about the specific steps the Government now plans to take to deal with this issue which is wasting taxpayers’ money and undermining a free local press."
- In response to the BBC’s Strategy Review, the NS has asked the BBC Trust to “set new boundaries” which will immediately and truly reduce and restrict the BBC’s local role and local ambitions. The NS considers that the issue is whether “the BBC Trust and BBC Executive wish to exercise self-control, or whether the strategy review may become the latest in a long line of BBC acknowledgment of criticism of its ever growing activities, without any effective action to curb and reduce them.”