The Culture Media and Sports Select Committee is chaired by John Whittingdale – a leading Conservative MP. That didn’t stop him or the other MPs on the committee from singling out H&F Council for producing the worst example of politically corrupt propaganda in the country. You can read the full report by clicking here. H&F News also makes the conclusions section as you can read on page 69 and see below:
"5. There is a real problem with local authority newspapers and magazines that needs to be addressed. While it is clear that most of these publications, such as Portsmouth City Council’s Flagship, are legitimate communications from a council to its citizens, this cannot be said for all local authority publications. Publications such as Hammersmith and Fulham Borough Council’s H&F News effectively pose as, and compete with, local commercial newspapers and are misleading to the public. It is unacceptable that a local authority can set up a newspaper in direct competition to the local commercial newspaper in this way. Nor should any council publication be a vehicle for political propaganda. (Paragraph 73)
6. The current DCLG guidance in this area is currently being breached. The DCLG should set up a system to monitor this situation closely. However we believe these 6970 guidelines, even if adhered to, do not go far enough. There should be specific, detailed guidance for local authority newspapers and magazines which should state that it be mandatory that all publications of this type make clear, not only on the front page but throughout the publication, that they are a local authority publication. (Paragraph 74)"
Regular reader will know that I have long campaigned against H&F News which is why Labour will sell it off should we win the local council elections on May 6th.
The Conservative Administration ordered council officers to lavish £5million of taxpayers’ money on H&F News, outdoor advertising and political pamphlets that supported and campaigned for the H&F Conservative’s often "misleading" agenda. Senior officers should have known better but instead allowed a culture to develop where this abuse of taxpayers’ funds became the norm and political independence was corrupted.
The Select Committee Report rightly condemns this and adds backing to the many campaigns to put an end to a propaganda machine that would be more at home in North Korea.