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February 16, 2012 1:00 PM

William Powell, Lib Dem Assembly Member for Mid and West Wales has called on councils in rural Wales to review their policy on advertising in the local press following the evidence of the damage being done to many valued journals.

William said "local newspapers are one of the key features of life in rural Wales, keeping us in touch with news events across our communities. Many have been doing so from the early years of the 19th Century. However current practices by many local authorities are threatening their incomes.

"Traditionally councils have always placed their public notices - planning, rights of way, highway regulations etc have been placed in local papers. This has not only been an easy way to bring these matters to public attention but has also provided an important source of revenue for these papers.

"Now unfortunately Councils are increasingly publishing these items in their own free sheets, few of which are printed locally. These items are of very variable quality and frequently go unread by the public

"In these times of economic stringency this trend has, according to the editors I have spoken to, hit many local papers quite hard and I think councils should rethink their strategy on this lest we start losing papers which have been local institutions in our communities for the best part of two centuries."

Mr Powell will be putting in a series of Freedom of Information Requests to find out just how widespread and damaging this trend has become.