ABC should not receive priority in NI

From: John Kilclooney Subject: Audited figures Your report “NI
Government to demand audited figures” (Press Gazette, 14 October) makes
interesting reading.

Of course all papers should have creditable
audited figures, but this does not mean ABC, as the NI Government
appears to suggest or as RobertRay of the Newspaper Society implies.

The
latter comes as no surprise due to the inter-relationship of the
society with ABC. If the Government came down in favour of ABC, then no
government advertising would appear in 30 of the 43 weekly newspapers
in Northern Ireland.

Of the 30 weekly titles that are non- ABC, some 20 of them are formerly ABC members.

To
restrict government advertising to ABC titles would mean that residents
in most of the larger towns in Northern Ireland, such as Bangor,
Newtownards, Ballymena, Coleraine, Ballyclare would be denied
government advertising.

As most NI weeklies are non-ABC, there must be a choice to provide audited figures, for example, local readership surveys.

It would be wrong for the Government or the Newspaper Society to provide a monopoly for ABC.

Weekly papers would then be at the mercy of the ABC.

The Newspaper Society should act in the interests of weekly papers and not give priority to the ABC.

John Kilclooney, member of the NI Assembly, Stormont

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