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Editor hits out at council ‘propaganda sheet’ time capsule snub

ramzyAn editor has criticised a council which removed a copy of his newspaper from a time capsule in order to include one of its own “propaganda sheets,”

Ramzy Alwakeel, left, has hit out at Hackney Council’s “baffling” decision to include a copy of its Hackney Today newsletter at the expense of the Hackney Gazette.

The authority had asked Ramzy whether it could use a Gazette front page from December to be included in the capsule, which has been buried to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the building of Hackney Town Hall.

But, according to the Gazette, its front page was removed due to a “lack of space” while an alternative front from an edition of Hackney Today was instead used as a “date marker”.

Ramzy told HTFP: “At 153 years old I think the Gazette can reasonably claim to be an important part of Hackney, so it’s baffling that Hackney Council didn’t think future generations would be interested in it.

“The town hall never explained why Hackney Today made a preferable date marker to the Gazette, which comes out twice as often and features the date at the top of every page.

“Nevertheless, it’s already something of an anachronism given most other councils have now dramatically scaled down their propaganda sheets, so maybe it does belong in a time capsule after all.”

In December last year HTFP reported how Ramzy had backed rival newspaper the Hackney Citizen’s criticism of the “unfair competition” posed by Hackney Today after claims by Citizen editor Keith Magnum that the publication was taking away advertising revenues from the local press.

The authority continues to publish Hackney Today every fortnight in breach of guidelines set out by the Department for Communities and Local Government, which states such publications should come out no more than quarterly.

The capsule’s other contents include seeds from the London Fields wildflower meadow, a letter from Hackney Mayor Phil Glanville to his future successor, and letters and drawings from school children at two local schools.

A Hackney Council spokesman said: “The time capsule only had a small amount of space and as we had an overwhelming response from local school children of drawings and letters, it was decided by a team of staff that these would take priority for inclusion in the capsule. This left only a small amount of room for other items.”

He added: “We would have included other publications but given the lack of space, and the fact local publications are archived online and in paper form, it was decided this content best illustrated the diversity of the borough and would not otherwise be available to residents in the future.”

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  • August 11, 2017 at 12:50 pm

    Newspapers don’t connect with their communities like they used to. Halcyon days gone by the greed of the bosses.
    I don’t like the idea of council newspapers, or press offices, but while newspapers slashed back staff – and coverage – councils, police forces and other ‘public bodies’ decided they could do a better job of promoting their own agendas.
    No point crying over spilt milk. It’s a sign of the times and the newspaper bosses and owners’ greed.

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