A Newspaper Society delegation led by vice president Georgina Harvey, managing director of Trinity Mirror Regionals, and Archant chief executive Adrian Jeakings, will today meet Eric Pickles, the Communities and Local Government Secretary, to discuss the local media industry’s concerns over competing council newspapers.
The meeting was arranged as a result of a request by the NS on 21 May following publication of the Coalition policy document’s commitment, under the Communities and Local Government section, which stated: “We will impose tougher rules to stop unfair competition by local authority newspapers.”
Eric Pickles said on 28 May: “I look forward to meeting the Newspaper Society. A vibrant local press is essential to help local democracy work effectively and to ensure that newly empowered councils are properly held to account. But more importantly than that, the local newspaper is one of the places that communities come together, as important as the local shop, village pub or public park.
“The new Government has pledged action to address public concern about unfair competition from excessively commercial council newspapers. Councils will rightly want to inform their citizens about council services, but I question whether they need to have the likes of TV listings and film reviews provided in weekly council newspapers.”
- In its submission in March last year to the government consultation on the Local Authority Publicity Code, the NS, on behalf of the UK regional and local newspaper industry, called for a ban on all those council publications which purport to offer ‘independent’ local news and compete with local media for readers and third party advertising.