Angry at council's foray into newspaper publishing

AS a Camden Council taxpayer and resident, I am outraged to be funding billboard advertisements for a council controlled monopoly newspaper which is already delivered free to every local residence. The inevitable conclusion to be drawn is that the coun

AS a Camden Council taxpayer and resident, I am outraged to be funding billboard advertisements for a council controlled monopoly 'newspaper' which is already delivered free to every local residence.

The inevitable conclusion to be drawn is that the council is seeking to compete and gain market share or, more usefully, mindshare, to the detriment of the existing less well-resourced plurality of private local print and online media sources.

Any mindshare gained by the council will inevitably be at the expense, and further diminution, of non-government local print and online media consumption.

Furthermore, I would like to convey in the strongest possible terms that Camden Council, along with every other council in Britain, has no business whatsoever in becoming a player in the local newspaper market.

Every Camden Council taxpayer already pays for the directory booklet of local services that he or she receives with their annual council tax bill. All of the information about the council's resources is readily available on the council website or to anyone who telephones their general advisory help lines.

There is also abundant information locally in the Ham &High and in the free Camden New Journal, as well as other free papers which are, importantly, not delivered directly to each residence.

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It is completely unnecessary for the council to compete with this plurality by issuing monthly Your Camden 'newspapers' delivered to every residence, with the (no doubt tempting) scope to be partial or complete propaganda tools for the local authority.

In addition, the acceptance of paid advertising in Your Camden further undermines the local presence of more critical voices. As George Orwell predicted, to let the state enjoy a near-monopoly of information is to guarantee manipulation and distortion.

In summary, I object in the strongest possible terms to my council taxes being used to fund billboard advertising for a local authority monopoly newspaper which is already delivered free to every residence.

Furthermore, I petition the council to remove the threat to my liberty, and the liberty of every Camden resident, by withdrawing forthwith from its insidious and completely unwarranted foray into the local newspaper market.

Mark Wiggins

Maresfield Gardens, NW3

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