Trinity Mirror newspaper, The Fulham and Hammersmith Chronicle, has today launched a campaign against titles published by its local council.
The ‘Proper Papers Not Propaganda’campaign is protesting against Hammersmith & Fulham Council-run paper, the H&F News.
Trinity Mirror said the campaign would seek to raise awareness of the ‘council’s publishing activity and the cost and threat to democracy this poses to the borough’s residents, local businesses and politicians.”
The Chronicle started its campaign with a front page splash this morning encouraging readers to sign its petition against the council-run title.
The Chronicle also outlined its objectives:
- Mobilise residents’ support and raise awareness that H&F News is run by the council and is therefore not an impartial news source, even though it masquerades as a genuine newspaper
- Inform residents that £174,292 of their money per annum is being used to foot the bill for H&F News
- Make it clear that if H&F News continues unchallenged then local democracy and freedom of speech are severely compromised
- Stop H&F News in its current format
The paper’s editor, Adrian Seal, wrote an open letter about the campaign on page seven of today’s issue:
As your local newspaper of 122 years, it’s our duty to make you aware that Hammersmith and Fulham Council is spending thousands of pounds of your money producing a biased council publication masquerading as an independent newspaper.
Every fortnight the council’s H&F News is delivered through your door peddling the views it wants you to read and it’s costing you the council taxpayer £174,292* per annum.
In short your money is being used by the council to publish its own views dressed up as impartial journalism in a newspaper format.
In 2009 each edition of H&F News (24 in total) that arrived through your letterbox cost you £6,971.68* to produce. Are you happy paying this amount per issue for the h&f news when you receive genuine balanced local news from the Chronicle for free every week?
While we support the council’s statutory obligation to communicate its activities to residents we don’t believe it should present its views in a format or frequency which suggests H&F News is an impartial news observer.
Hammersmith and Fulham Council has clearly set itself up as a local newspaper publisher actively competing with the Chronicle for readers and advertisers, and seemingly has the express intention of trying to put this historic title out of business.
The Chronicle exists to stand up for your voice, to stand up for your views and to hold those in power to account. The H&F News does not.