South Wales Guardian Opinion

First published in News

THE Dyfed-Powys police and crime commissioner’s decision to withdraw funding from the local authority-run Carmarthenshire News is something we welcome — there must be a million better ways to spend £5,000 of police cash.

Moreover, commissioner Christopher Salmon has pledged to “maximise” communication with local newspapers, broadcasters and websites.

These are particularly challenging times for the print media, which is having to contend with plunging ad revenues, falling circulations and rising print costs.

Local papers may not be as popular as they once were but they are still read by a hefty chunk of the population.

At their best, they subject public bodies to critical scrutiny while also giving readers recourse to air issues that otherwise would never see the light of day.

In essence, a good local paper holds those in authority to account — something a publication like Carmarthenshire News would obviously never do.

Local councils can directly communicate with residents through social media, websites and leaflet drops, all of which are reasonably low cost.

What, then, is the point of publications that pass themselves of as newspapers and sell advertising at discounted rates using public money to undercut the real thing?

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