NUJ steps up support for town hall 'Pravdas' accusing Eric Pickles of 'Putinism'

The NUJ has reaffirmed its support for under-threat council newspaper and accused the Government of trying to censor them.

Weekly council newspapers such as East End Life in Tower Hamlets and Greenwich Time have been accused of acting as propaganda vehicles and providing unfair competition for commercially-run newspapers.

Earlier this month a former editor of Greenwich Time wrote in Press Gazette about how he believed the paper was really edited during his time by the council's chief executive and leader.

But the NUJ is opposing Government plans to curb such titles in its local audit and accountability bill. According to the NUJ, the Government also wants to stop council-run publications from covering "contentious areas of public policy".

NUJ leader Michelle Stanistreet said: 

Eric Pickles is pleased to sound off about what he calls town hall Pravdas, but it seems his plans to determine what these newspapers can print, if at all, smacks of Putinism. There are adequate sanctions if these publications step out of line. The gagging of local council publications seems to fly in the face of the coalition's purported support of localism. I am very surprised LibDem MPs have signed up to this. Next week, they will have the chance to see sense and can vote out the dangerous parts of clause 39 and other parts of this illiberal bill."

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