Guardian blacklisted by County Council

THE South Wales Guardian has been subjected to a Carmarthenshire county council advertising blackout since September, following a comment piece criticising the authority.

Ironically, the revelation came on the day the council was being urged to show greater support for local newspapers.

In the wake of the Leveson report into media standards, county politicians called on the authority to abandon its own Carmarthenshire News publication – produced by council staff and costing taxpayers £148,000 – and help ensure “the vibrancy of the press”.

Meanwhile, council advertising in the Guardian has all but dried up since publication of an editorial lambasting the authority’s nownotorious Sainsbury’s press release regarding the Welsh Assembly’s call-in of plans for stores in Llandeilo and Cross Hands. Council figures show that during eight weeks between September 27 and November 21, the authority spent £9,551.69 in the county’s three newspapers with just £224.99 or 2.3 per cent spent in the Guardian. The remaining 97.7 per cent went to the Guardian’s two rivals.

In his report, Lord Justice Leveson noted with dismay the difficulties faced by local newspapers due to declining advertising revenue.

Plaid CymruAMRhodri Glyn Thomas said: “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. The council should start by scrapping its own publication and direct advertisers to the independently-run publications in the county.

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

Meanwhile, MP Jonathan Edwards said: “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 imperative that local authorities play an active role in ensuring the vibrancy of the press.”

Carmarthenshire county council has not responded to requests for a response.

Comments (4)

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3:09pm Wed 12 Dec 12

Pinstripe says...

As a journalist who has worked in local newspapers I find it disgusting that the council is trying to strangle the local press financially because it doesn't like what goes in your paper.
Advertising people from my old paper used to pester me all the time to take a softer line with the council that week because they had just sold a big ad but I never took any notice. When are they going to learn? Spending money with advertising does not ensure the silence of the reporters on that publication and nor should it.
What disgusts me even more about this is that the council's Carmarthenshire News even exists.
These pathetic bits of council propaganda are a double scourge on society: They cost taxpayers good money to put out council lines with no scrutiny whatsoever. They also leech much-needed advertising revenue from the local press.
Didn't Eric Pickles expressly tell all councils that they were to end these publications without delay? How is it that this one has survived? Local taxpayers should demonstrate outside the town hall and hassle their local councillors until this magazine is, respectfully, put to sleep.
As a journalist who has worked in local newspapers I find it disgusting that the council is trying to strangle the local press financially because it doesn't like what goes in your paper. Advertising people from my old paper used to pester me all the time to take a softer line with the council that week because they had just sold a big ad but I never took any notice. When are they going to learn? Spending money with advertising does not ensure the silence of the reporters on that publication and nor should it. What disgusts me even more about this is that the council's Carmarthenshire News even exists. These pathetic bits of council propaganda are a double scourge on society: They cost taxpayers good money to put out council lines with no scrutiny whatsoever. They also leech much-needed advertising revenue from the local press. Didn't Eric Pickles expressly tell all councils that they were to end these publications without delay? How is it that this one has survived? Local taxpayers should demonstrate outside the town hall and hassle their local councillors until this magazine is, respectfully, put to sleep. Pinstripe

9:12pm Wed 12 Dec 12

Huw Thomas says...

Is the fact that Carm's C.C's press officer is a former reporter with the Evening Post?
Is the fact that Carm's C.C's press officer is a former reporter with the Evening Post? Huw Thomas

1:13am Thu 13 Dec 12

Meirion says...

Carm CC's press officer is a former EPost reporter.
Well well we have no chance of getting the truth behind the dark doors on jail hill out in the open.
Carm CC's press officer is a former EPost reporter. Well well we have no chance of getting the truth behind the dark doors on jail hill out in the open. Meirion

1:13am Thu 13 Dec 12

Meirion says...

Carm CC's press officer is a former EPost reporter.
Well well we have no chance of getting the truth behind the dark doors on jail hill out in the open.
Carm CC's press officer is a former EPost reporter. Well well we have no chance of getting the truth behind the dark doors on jail hill out in the open. Meirion

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