AddThis SmartLayers

Pickles to meet industry leaders over council freesheets

Communities secretary Eric Pickles has agreed to meet Newspaper Society representatives over his latest crackdown on council newspapers.

The minister has pledged to give the force of law to the existing voluntary Code of Practice which aims to restrict the so-called ‘town hall pravdas’ to publishing four times a year.

But the NS, which represents the local press industry, is concerned that the clampdown may not come into force until April 2014.

This week, Mr Pickles responded to a letter from the NS requesting a meeting to discuss the timetabling issue.

Some councils such as Tower Hamlets and Greenwich Borough Council are continuing to flout the voluntary Publicity Code by publishing fortnightly or monthly newspapers.

The NS said: “Local authorities are siphoning off the primary source of revenue which enables independent local journalism to hold authorities to account on behalf of local people.

“It is vital that this unfair competition, which causes real damage to local newspapers, be stopped as a matter of urgency.”

One comment

You can follow all replies to this entry through the comments feed.
  • August 9, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    It isn’t just the 1984-style, taxpayer-funded council newspapers which Pickles needs to crack down on, but the outrageous attempts top muzzle criticism by screwing newspapers commercially.

    There are numerous examples – more than have been reported on HTFP – of councils deciding to pull their advertising from papers which carry ‘negative’ (i.e., embarassing) stories about local authority initiatives, administrative incompetence or people the politicians disapprove of.

    This is arrogant, authoritarian and reeks of a bureacracy which seeks to uninvent criticism and airbrush real accountability out of existence.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(0)