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Magazine of the Chartered Institute of Journalists

Keep your nerve, CIoJ urges government

Press release
Release date: 6 February 2018

The Chartered Institute of Journalists is urging the government to keep its nerve in stopping local authorities in Waltham Forest and Hackney from publishing ‘Pravda’ style propaganda newspapers.

Both councils have persuaded the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to postpone a final deadline of closure that had been set for Tuesday February 6th on their fortnightly Waltham Forest News and Hackney Today newsletters.

Janice Shillum Bhend, who is to become President of the Institute in March, has played a leading role in campaigning against councils publishing PR papers full of their own press releases and political spin.

She says the councils ‘should be buying local advertising and supporting an independent local press.’

She added: “The Communities secretary, Sajid Javid, needs to maintain a hardline. These council papers are biased towards promoting their own agendas and damage local democracy.”

A recent Greater London Assembly report on ‘The Fate of Local News’ said “Local newspapers have, in some cases, been negatively affected by local authorities regularly publishing their own newsletters.”