Culture secretary Ben Bradshaw has issued a scathing condemnation of the council-owned “propaganda sheets” which are replacing independent newspapers in many areas.
Speaking to Sunday Mirror political editor Vincent Moss the former local newspaper reporter and BBC journalist said: “You’ve got local authorities that are spending a considerable amount of council taxpayers’ money employing armies of press officers to produce these propaganda sheets masquerading as newspapers.
“They remind me of (Soviet state newspaper) Pravda and papers I knew from my times in East Germany as a BBC correspondent. If the only information you’re getting is misleading propaganda put out by politicians from one particular party, I think that’s very dangerous.”
He said council bosses should “very seriously consider” their spending on these papers.
In an investigation for the Evening Standard last week, Andrew Gilligan revealed that council-paid journalists and press officers may not outnumber independent local newspaper journalists in London.