Rival paper exposes council paper's 'unpaid' listings

A local authority’s free newspaper could face a fine after failing to pay for its TV listings.

East End Life, the newspaper for Tower Hamlets Council in East London, is accused by its local paid-for rival the East London Advertiser of not registering with the official listings provider, Broadcasting Data Services.

The BDS regulates the amount newspapers pay for listings, based on circulation.

Under the 1990 Broadcasting Act, anyone who publishes BBC or ITV data has to pay royalties – and the Advertiser estimates that East End Life could be liable to pay about £3,200 a year.

The Advertiser quoted a BDS spokeswoman who thanked the paper for bringing the matter to its attention. She said the authority would be in touch with the paper about payments, which can be backdated.

Unusually for local authority newspapers, the weekly East End Life employs professional journalists, covers hard news such as reports from crown court and carries paid-for advertising from local businesses.

A spokeswoman for Tower Hamlets Council said: ‘We are looking into this and our enquiries are ongoing.”

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