Political Advertising and Local Newspapers
Posted by jonathanfryer on Friday, 30th April, 2010
One new and in my opinion not particularly welcome feature of the current British general election campaign has been the soliciting of political advertising from parties by local newspapers, often in ‘special’ election supplements. I can understand the motivation from the newspapers’ point of view. Many are struggling to survive and some face unfair competition from freebies put out by the local council (Tower Hamlets, where I live, delivers a weekly newspaper, East End Life, to local residents, most of its content devoted to praising the work of the council, but of course paid for by us council tax payers). However, political advertising during an election campaign effectively favours the richer parties to the detriment of the others. The Conservatives must have spent tens of thousands of pounds advertising their parliamentary candidate in the local press recently, as part of their efforts to swing the Poplar & Limehouse election their way. This country rightly prevents political parties from buying airtime on television during elections. Perhaps there should be a similar rule for newspapers advertisements too.