Tower Hamlets Council’s ‘Pravda’ publication under fire for changing councillors’ quotes
PUBLISHED: 10:42 12 March 2013 | UPDATED: 10:46 12 March 2013
Tower Hamlets Council’s “Town Hall Pravda” has come under fire for trying to change councillors’ quotes from a public meeting before publishing them.
Emails leaked online show the council’s communications team writing to Labour and Tory members requesting comments made at a budget meeting were altered before they ran them in their East End Life (EEL) publication.
Conservative councillor Tim Archer was contacted in relation to quotes forecasting a “black hole” in council finances predicted for 2017.
He was told that a finance officer was unable to verify figures in the quote, and that the comment could not be included “as it’s currently drafted”.
Responding, he wrote: “So I thought you were quoting me from the budget meeting. I did not realise that a quote from a member had to be agreed by finance officers.
“Calls into question the impartiality of the reporting in East End Life really doesn’t it?”
Labour group leader Cllr Joshua Peck said he was “unimpressed, although not surprised” by attempts to alter his quotes from the meeting.
Responding to the exchange, head of communications Takki Sulaiman wrote: “The principle we’re trying to uphold is that EEL represents the council not only the council chamber – but we do try to report outcomes and statements of positive policy from the chamber.
“EEL has never included an allegation about pre-election spending before and we do not cover political accusations made in the chamber.”
Last week Tory and Labour councillors voted together to force through a budget in which the £1.2million public funding for East End Life will be deleted.
For the full email exchange, see http://trialbyjeory.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/east-end-life-now-its-altering-the-quotes-of-opposition-members-as-well/