The NS is to write to Eric Pickles after plans to strengthen Government guidelines which aim to prevent local authorities publishing aggressive council newspapers were announced.
Posted on: 22 June 2012 06:00
According to the Newspaper Society: In the latest Communities Department’s Business Plan, granting the Secretary of State the power to enforce the Publicity Code for Local Authorities is listed as a key action over the next two years in order for the department to “implement its Coalition priorities.”
The document proposes that legislation is introduced “to provide the Secretary of State with the power to make a direction requiring compliance with some or all of the Code’s recommendations to protect local commercial newspapers from unfair competition from municipal publications.”
The NS is to write to Mr Pickles to welcome the move but also highlight concerns about the proposed timings for enforcing the Code and highlight the fact that many aggressive competitive council publications have been allowed to continue unchecked since the revised Publicity Code for local authorities was introduced over a year ago.
The document suggests that it could take until April 2014 to complete the changes required.
Some councils such as Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest, Greenwich and North Somerset have continued to flout Government guidelines against aggressive council newspapers which were introduced by the Government more than a year ago following a campaign by the local press industry.
The NS has consistently highlighted to the Government the damaging effect aggressive council papers have on independent local newspapers and called for them to be banned.