Industry leaders have welcomed the decision to scrap a council-run TV station that has swallowed £1.8m of taxpayers’ money since 2007.
As reported yesterday, Kent County Council is to scrap its internet channel Kent TV at the end of next month.
Newspaper Society communications director Lynne Anderson said: “Kent TV proved to be a costly and pointless experiment into providing local news and information which is already provided at no cost to the taxpayer by trusted independent local newspapers and their websites across Kent.
“It has attracted a lot of criticism and has rightly been axed. Councils do have a duty to provide information about council services but they should not be in the media business – whether in print, online or broadcast – promoting their own version of the news and competing with the only voices which can hold them to account.”
Kentish Times series group editor Melody Foreman added: “The opposition to the use of taxpayers’ money in this way has been illuminated in parliament with some of our Kent and London MPs taking action on our behalf.
“Last month there was an Early Day Motion to debate the issue raised by Paul Burstow, MP. He pointed out how council funded media was often loss-making and yet it was used to publicise statutory notices and real local newspapers were losing much needing advertising revenue.”
Geraldine Allinson, chairman of the KM Group which publishes the Kent Messenger said: “We welcome the decision KCC has made to stop KentTV. In Kent we are fortunate to have a forward thinking county council, they are persistent in looking for new, effective ways to deliver services and communicate with the people of Kent.
“There is also a vibrant independent media in Kent and we hope that going forward KCC recognises the strengths and benefits independent local media can bring to help deliver cost effective and innovative communication.”
The channel, which employs five journalists, was originally set up in September 2007 as a pilot project due to end in March 2010.
The council, which had earlier sought to conceal the true cost of the project to the taxpayer, announced on Monday that it would not be continuing with the trial for financial reasons.
Mr_Osato (11/02/2010 08:36:56)
ok, now time for the members of the Newspaper Society to end their own pointless experiments, like trying to turn reporters into videographers and trying to run newspapers without subs, not to mention moving journalists up to 50 miles from the communities they serve. Fair’s fair, eh?
Anon (11/02/2010 12:08:13)
And how much does Geraldine Allinson’s KM Group receive in advertising from KCC a year, effectively subsiding their operation? Those in glass houses should not throw stones.
Pete (11/02/2010 14:30:42)
Rather missing the point anon. Advertising is hardly a subsidy its a commercial transaction, but when taxpayers money gets used that’s certain a subsidy and, oh, hell, if you don’t get it I’m not going to be able to explain it to you.
Zoot (11/02/2010 18:13:03)
Anon, your muppetery amazes me. Should the KM have not run stories or complained about the use of taxpayers’ funds to run an operation sure to lose money and damage private enterprise, simply because KCC spends somecash with them?
Are you are journalist or a press officer?
Actually, that’s obvious.