Leveson Report should echo in the corridors of County Hall

Council propaganda newspapers should be scrapped

Following the publication of the much awaited Leveson report, Plaid Cymru politicians Rhodri Glyn Thomas and Jonathan Edwards have called on Carmarthenshire County Council to join them in protecting the future of local newspapers.

The inquiry by Rt. Hon. Lord Justice Leveson into the culture, practice and ethics of the press reported this week noting with stark reality the challenges local and regional newspaper publications have faced in recent years.

Given the decline in community newspapers sales, the Carmarthenshire politicians have renewed their calls for Carmarthenshire County Council to scrap its propaganda newspaper, Carmarthenshire News and to stop taking tens of thousands of pounds of vital advertising revenues away from existing newspapers.

Assembly Member Rhodri Glyn Thomas said:

“The widely promoted Leveson report notes with stark reality the decline of local newspapers throughout the UK. The figures should echo in the corridors of County Hall.

“Carmarthenshire has a much-respected local press and it is imperative it is able to act freely and report without fear or favour.

“Plaid Cymru – The Party of Wales firmly believes local authorities have a duty not to undermine local newspapers and we’re calling on Carmarthenshire County Council to join our campaign to secure the future of the local press in the county.

“To do this the Council should start by scraping its own £148,000 a year propaganda publication and direct advertisers to the independently-run publications in the county.”

Member of Parliament Jonathan Edwards, who led efforts in the House of Commons to achieve ‘community asset’ status for local newspapers, added:

“Lord Justice Leveson categorically states that local, high-quality and trusted newspapers are good for our communities, our identity and our democracy and play an important social role. It is therefore imperative that local authorities play an active role in ensuring the vibrancy of the press.

“Sadly some local authorities are hell bent on producing their own publications and are not entirely transparent on how much the taxpayer is actually contributing to the costs.

“The Party of Wales would sooner see staff resources put to better use than producing propaganda newspapers. Our first action in office would be to stop taking tens of thousands of pounds of vital advertising money out of the hands of existing newspapers.

“We will continue to fight for the vibrancy of local community publications. We call on Carmarthenshire County Council to join us.”

ENDS

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