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Council paper slammed for bias' news

PUBLISHED: 15:12 20 November 2008 | UPDATED: 15:42 25 August 2010

A COUNCIL newspaper has been slammed for publishing one-sided, partisan reports.

A COUNCIL newspaper has been slammed for publishing one-sided, partisan reports.

Greenwich Time, Greenwich council's free newspaper printed a front page report condemning a decision to axe the £500 million Thames Gateway Bridge, on Monday.

The front page article entitled 'Sold down the river' claimed Mayor Boris Johnson's decision would be a "kick in the teeth" for residents.

However the only reference of information was Chris Roberts, leader of Greenwich council, and no mention was made of the public inquiry that threw the bridge plans out in July 2007.

Spencer Drury, leader of the opposition on Greenwich council, said: "Greenwich Time is a politically one-sided waste of money.

"Chris Roberts should withdraw his purposely misleading statements and the Labour Party should apologise for this misuse of council resources."

Last December it emerged that Greenwich council spent more than £3 million on 'publicity' that year, compared to £648,000 in Bexley and £907,000 in Bromley.

Greenwich Time's circulation is 105,000, enough for every home in Greenwich.

On the council's website, Greenwich Time is described as "your free local newspaper", yet it is does not meet the requirements to be listed with the society for local newspapers, The Newspaper Society.

Mr Drury added: "It ignored the fact that one of the Labour councillors has been in Australia since March and another has been forced to resign from a post over bullying allegations.

"It is absolutely clear that this Greenwich Time attack is pure politics."

Bexley's council dropped its newssheet when the Conservative Party came into power in 2006, whilst Boris Johnson scrapped The Londoner on becoming Mayor of London, saving £4 million a year.

A Greenwich council spokesperson refused to comment on allegations the publication was unbalanced in its reports.

She added: "Developing and campaigning for improvements to local transport infrastructure is a key part of the council's regeneration strategy.

"The loss of such huge sums of capital investment was a major news story for the borough."

jules.cooper@archant.co.uk

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