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SALFORD COUNCIL RELAUNCHES ITS TOWN HALL PRAVDA
 

Star date: 22nd May 2013

`PRAVDA' COUNCIL MAG TO BE RE-LAUNCHED AS SALFORD STAR REFUSED ACCESS

As the Government's Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles, officially condemns local council magazines as `Town Hall Pravdas', and says they are "propaganda that pours taxpayers money down the drain", Salford Council is about to re-launch its Life In Salford magazine.

After asking for `community' articles to be included in the first issue of Life, a small feature about volunteering for the Salford Star was refused by the infinitely biased publication.

A free press in Salford? Are you having a laugh? Full details here…


"I want our news to be told and sold under the masthead of an independent and free press, not through a knock-off Rolex imitation" Eric Pickles, Communities Secretary

Following on from last week's Newspaper Society survey that showed how local councils manipulate and bully the local media, and restrict information (see previous Salford Star article click here), the Government's Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles, is bringing in legislation aimed at `stopping councils from publishing regular 'Pravda-style' free-sheets which threaten local newspapers and waste taxpayers' money printing up town hall propaganda'.

The new legislation in the proposed Local Audit and Accountability Bill will limit publication of council publications to four times a year, "obliging councils to be cost effective and objective in any publicity material they publish".

In a withering criticism of the mags, Pickles says "The spread of the Town Hall 'Pravda' is manifestly unfair because they offer cut price local news, but mixed in with council propaganda that pours taxpayers money down the drain.

"These free-sheets are often confused for the real thing by residents" he adds "I want our news to be told and sold under the masthead of an independent and free press, not through a knock-off Rolex imitation."

Salford Council is aiming to get round the new laws by re-launching its Life In Salford magazine in June as a quarterly magazine, with partners City West Housing, Salford City College, University of Salford, Salford Clinical Commissioning Group and Urban Vision all stuffing money into it. 

Back in April, community groups in Salford were asked to submit short articles for the mag. "Open to any non-profit making group", an e-mail to community groups asked for short articles on things like events, meetings and "requests for volunteers".

The Salford Star, a local `non-profit making community group' is always looking for volunteers, so we submitted a fifty word gentle article `requesting volunteers'. Yesterday we discovered that the article would not be included – with no explanation.

"We can only assume censorship" says Stephen Kingston, editor of Salford Star "Which is incredible because, before Lisa Stone - who now heads up the Life In Salford project - became a councillor and Assistant Mayor for Communication, she was only too willing to get the Salford Star to write features on her projects. How power corrupts.

"Before Life In Salford hits the cat litter tray" he adds "we hope Salford people will understand that what they are reading is pure biased propaganda, giving only one viewpoint on behalf of Salford Council, City West Housing, Salford City College, University of Salford, Salford Clinical Commissioning Group and Urban Vision – even though we are all paying for it."

Last time Life In Salford hit the headlines was a few years ago, when Lib Dem councillor, Steve Cooke, resigned from its editorial board calling it a "an often misleading and relentlessly and unjustifiably upbeat publication" and a "propaganda vehicle for the cabinet".

Indeed, the last issue of the `politically neutral' Life featured City Mayor Ian Stewart on the cover.
 
"Together with Life In Salford, every single so-called `community' media in the city is totally uncritical of Salford Council and never holds it up to account in any way, which is probably why they get public funding" says Stephen Kingston "The whole notion of a free press in Salford has taken so many steps back that it's fallen off the cliff of democracy."

With Salford Council routinely tearing up Freedom of Information requests from Salford Star and refusing the publication's legal right to see accounts, the Salford Star will be responding in its own way tomorrow…

UPDATE: 23rd May - Salford Star Goes On Strike - click here

See previous Salford Star articles on Life In Salford…

Salford Council Mad Mag Costs – click here

Salford Star Evidence To Parliamentary Culture, Media and Sport Committee – click here

The Pravda Factor – click here

Salford Star Wars - click here

 

wrote
at 20:34:06 on 23 May 2013
Great stuff ! My dog really enjoys crapping on this RAG.
 
Curry Bandit wrote
at 21:33:37 on 22 May 2013
Personaly I wish they would make the council magazine weekly, it would save me a fortune in toilet paper. Try it, great if you have had a curry the night before, it just soaks up all the shit
 
Michael Felse wrote
at 19:40:04 on 22 May 2013
Am I the only one in Salford that reads the Life in Salford magazine. Love a free paper. Maybe get a catch up feature in it about the closed services?
 
barrywoodling wrote
at 18:14:10 on 22 May 2013
Salford is a one party state ruled by an authoritarian elite. It is no surprise that censorship is being operated by their house magazine to silence any critical comment
 
Do They Care? wrote
at 18:13:53 on 22 May 2013
I remember Lisa and co clamoring to the Salford Star when there was a proposal to build the YOT office in there locality,and all young people had two heads. Its hard to observe their lust for "POWER" and even harder to listen to the hypocritical talk of such people, but ever dog has its day and I feel people like her will eventually be removed by those who really care
 
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