Monday, 21 February 2011

Fulham Chronicle propaganda deal: Plot thickens

Two meetings and a contract: the super sensitive reaction of the Fulham Chronicle to this blog's attention to their possible transformation from independent newspaper to council propaganda vehicle first let me know I was onto something. I was "strongly urged" to, in effect, seek permission from owners Trinity Mirror before publishing otherwise I might have lawyers on my case.

I published anyway and still haven't received my phone call. And since then two meetings have come to light courtesy of one of my moles in the Town Hall. There have been two meetings, I'm told, between Trinity Mirror Southern Managing Director Simon Edgley and H&F Chief Executive Geoff Alltimes on the 16th and then the 26th April at which the future of H&F propagandising was discussed.

And now we have this - a contract for the provision of advertising and communication services - described as an "opportunity" by the Council on this website. It states thus:
"The Council is seeking to enter into a six year contract with an organisation to provide advertising and communication services in a newspaper distributed across the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham".
And what of this contract? What will it mean the lucky newspaper gets to do? Well, the council:
"wants to use free space in the newspaper to fulfil its own communication needs"
I see. And the contract begins on April 11th - just after the Government enforced death of what Secretary of State for Local Government calls "Town Hall Pravda" H&F News. So what would the readers of the Chronicle get?
This will include without limitation using the newspaper to engage and involve residents in the delivery of public services in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham. In terms of the quantity or scope the Council’s requirements are for advertising of display, recruitment and public notices in a local newspaper. In addition, the Council will want to use the newspaper to distribute its own materials.
So a full scale and unlimited space to carry on what the Government has called "propaganda on the rates" a la H&F News but within the pages, potentially, of the Fulham Chronicle. Those days of campaigning against propaganda must seem like a very long time ago in the newsroom of the Chronicle these days.

More to follow.

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