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Peace breaks out as ‘advertising blackout’ lifted

A row between a weekly newspaper and its local council over an “advertising blackout” appears to have been resolved after two new adverts were placed.

The dispute between the South Wales Guardian and Carmarthenshire County Council started last month when editor Mike Lewis claimed the paper had lost out on £9,000 of advertising, following publication of a critical article.

But the authority has now placed a property advert and a public notice in the South Wales Guardian – the first since the critical piece was published last September.

Editor Mike Lewis has welcomed the move and said he hoped it marked “a watershed” in relations between the paper and the council.

In a front page piece in the paper, he said: “County Hall have listened to public opinion while at the same time acknowledging the Guardian’s role within the local community.

“The most unfortunate consequence of this spat is that 14,500 Guardian readers found themselves effectively starved of essential news and information.

“The fact so many of them have expressed their concerns indicates that most people obviously still rely on their local newspaper to keep them informed.

“While we will continue to act as an independent voice for the community, we would obviously prefer to work alongside the local authority in these challenging times.

“Guardian staff have been quite touched by the quite astonishing levels of support we have received over the past month.”

Following the Guardian’s story about the advertising blackout last month, the council hit back at the title, saying its claims were “nonsense” and branding the paper’s editorial coverage as “biased and unbalanced”.

The paper then hit back with further articles which sought to refute the council’s statement that commercial reasons were behind the reduction in adverts.

Earlier this month, the Plaid Cymru group on the authority also stepped into the row by claiming it had been blocked it from holding a debate about press freedom in the council chamber.

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  • January 17, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    Interesting. Of course, the majority of people who will read this will still think advertising is the work of the devil and that the oinks who sell the adverts that keep the paper afloat are beneath them…….

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