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Javid threatens two boroughs with court action over newspapers

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Two London boroughs have been threatened with court action by the communities secretary if they do not stop publishing their newspapers.

Sajid Javid has issued directions to Hackney and Waltham Forest LBCs, both of which arepublishing their respective newspapers on a fortnightly basis.

The Publicity Code recommends that councils do not put out a newspaper more than quarterly in a bid to make sure independent local papers do not face unfair competition.

Mr Javid said: “An independent free press is vital for local democracy and it’s important that we support them in holding local leaders to account.

“Councils shouldn’t undermine local democracy by publishing their own newspapers more often than quarterly.

“While the majority of councils abide by the Publicity Code, Hackney and Waltham Forest have ignored repeated requests to stop publishing their council newspapers so frequently. In the interests of local democracy, I will therefore use my powers to require them to do so.”

Both councils have previously received written notices from the communities secretary indicating an intention to issue directions. Once a direction has been issued the recipient has 14 days to comply with the Publicity Code or the council could face court action.

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