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Row over council freesheet’s false claim to get royal pass

PUBLISHED: 20:25 15 May 2009 | UPDATED: 14:22 05 October 2010

A COUNCIL weekly freesheet paid for out of local tax claimed to be part of Mirror’ newspapers to obtain a pass for a royal visit to East London. Tower Hamlets council's East End Life’ applied for an exclusive 'royal rota' pass to represent the local press for the visit by Prince William

By Victoria Huntley

A COUNCIL weekly freesheet paid for out of local taxes claimed to be part Mirror’ newspapers to obtain a pass for a royal visit to East London.

A reporter from Tower Hamlets Council’s East End Life’ applied for an exclusive pass to represent the local press for the visit by Prince William to Whitechapel.

Reporter Shalina Hussain sent an email to the Newspaper Society, which represents Britain’s commercial regional press and administers Royal rota’ passes, asking to attend the opening of Whitechapel Gallery’s new extension by Prince William.

SMELT RAT

But the society smelt a rat when she emailed that East End Life’ was published by Trinity Mirror newspapers and asked her to clarify which division of the company it belonged to.

Miss Hussain emailed back to the society’s Paul Sinker: “We are part of Trinity Mirror Southern.”

But it is not. Trinity Mirror Southern is only on contract to print East End Life’ on its presses.

The society did not allocate a pass to her—but instead accepted the independently-owned East London Advertiser’s application for a reporter and photographer for Price William’s visit last Monday.

COMPLAINT

Now a complaint is understood to have been sent to Tower Hamlets Council from Trinity Mirror warning them not to make false claims again.

East End Life’ editor Laraine Clay was unavailable for comment. But the Advertiser did receive a call from Town Hall communications boss Clare Saul saying the situation was “a cock up rather than a conspiracy” and blamed the mistake’ on the inexperience of “a junior member of staff.”

The Newspaper Society is actively campaigning about town hall publications which are forcing the traditional local press out of business and threatening local democracy.


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