Council-backed newspapers like Greenwich Time could be under threat after a government report called for an inquiry into them. The demand comes in the Digital Britain report, which looks at how the UK media will respond to technological changes over the next few decades. According to journalists’ trade paper Press Gazette:
In his Digital Britain report, communications minister Stephen Carter invited the Audit Commission to look at “the prevalance of this practice, its impact and to make recommendations on best practice and if restraints should be placed on local authority activity in this field”.
“While local authority information sheets can serve a useful purpose for local residents and businesses, they will inevitably not be as rigorous in holding local institutions to account as independent local media,” the Digital Britain report said today.
It’s not just the woeful Greenwich Time that’s caused anger – Conservative-run Hammersmith & Fulham and Labour-controlled Tower Hamlets have upset local newspaper owners in their own areas with their own publications. Currybetdotnet has a round-up of what each London borough does, together with some arguments for and against them. Greenwich and Tower Hamlets are the only councils to publish weeklies.
With the Digital Britain report generally in favour of helping big media firms get used to the future, it could be that the clock is ticking for Greenwich borough’s version of Pravda if it doesn’t reform itself sharpish.