Council news 'keeps local papers afloat'

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The Independent Online

A councillor yesterday claimed that local authority newsletters helped to sustain, rather than kill off local newspapers.

Liberal Democrat Gerald Vernon-Jackson told a Select Committee hearing into the future of regional media that Portsmouth Council's paper Flagship helped fund the city's local newspaper.

He said: "We in local authorities are in many ways keeping these newspapers afloat. We keep pumping money into these papers, hundreds of thousands of pounds a year."

MPs on the Culture, Media and Sport Committee feared council publications could put local papers out of business, and Conservative MP Philip Davies attacked H&F News, the council sheet for Hammersmith and Fulham, for "masquerading" as an independent newspaper. Councillor Mark Loveday defended the title, saying the media was declining "before we accepted advertising".