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Government declares war on East End Life

PUBLISHED: 01:00 26 June 2010 | UPDATED: 16:12 05 October 2010

COUNCIL newspapers which are funded by the tax-payer including the paper published by Tower Hamlets council face tougher controls. Local government minister Eric Pickles will be tightening up the code for councils including Tower Hamlets which produces

COUNCIL newspapers which are funded by the tax-payer including the paper published by Tower Hamlets council face tougher controls.

Local government minister Eric Pickles will be tightening up the code for councils including Tower Hamlets which produces East End Life to stop unfair competition.

He wants to stop council literature being passed off as independent journalism which undermines commercial newspapers. Mr Pickles issued a tough warning to councils to save taxpayers' cash. He said: "The previous Government's weakening of the rules on town hall publicity not only wasted taxpayers' money and added to the wave of junk mail, but has undermined a free press.

"Councils should spend less time and money on weekly town hall Pravdas that end up in the bin, and focus more on frontline services like providing regular rubbish collections.

"In an internet age, commercial newspapers should expect over time less state advertising as more information is syndicated online for free. The flipside is our free press should not face state competition from propaganda on the rates dressed up as local reporting."

The Government is also concerned that content includes non council information such as TV listings.

Deputy leader of Tower Hamlets council Labour councillor Joshua Peck said: "East End Life has always been clear it's a council free sheet and not an independent newspaper and has nothing to fear from this. TV listings are not part of the core offer of EEL and we're already reviewing whether we stop carrying these."

Liberal democrat councillor Stephanie Eaton welcomed the decision. She said: "This is not before time. The Labour propaganda sheet East End Life pretends to be a community newspaper but in reality this is a vanity publication for Labour Cabinet members, The Council should provide information to residents and not dress this up in party political disguise.


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