Dec 6 2012 by Mhairi Macfarlane, Harrow Observer
front page december 6
COMMUNITY leaders in Harrow and Brent have praised the role of the Harrow Observer in the wake of the Leveson Inquiry, published last week.
While the national press was criticised for unethical practices, the report distanced local newspapers from criticism.
Lord Justice Leveson said in the report: “It is clear to me that local high quality and trusted newspapers are good for our communities, our identity and our democracy, and play an important social role.”
He added: “The criticisms of culture, practices and ethics of the press that have been raised in this inquiry do not affect them – on the contrary, they have been much praised.”
Community leaders have publicly praised the Observer for its contribution to the community.
Former leader of Harrow Council, councillor Bill Stephenson, told the Observer: “I think most people are aware that what has happened at national newspapers is a world away from what goes on at local newspapers.
“Having a good, well informed and lively local press is part of local democracy.
“As politicians, we may not always be happy with what is written but we understand it is an extremely important platform for residents to be heard and, likewise, for us an important medium to let people know what we are doing in the area.”
As a community-focused paper, the Observer has played an important part in highlighting the campaign to save libraries in Brent.
Preston Road Library campaigner Philip Bromberg said: “The local press has been a central part of the library campaign and we are incredibly grateful for that.
“It plays a very big part in democracy and without it, I think community spirit would be weakened.”
The Observer has also been instrumental through our campaigns and coverage in ensuring St Luke’s Hospice raises funds to continue its incredible work for terminally ill people across Harrow and Brent.
St Luke’s director of fundraising, Pam Russell said: “As a local charity we rely on the support of the community for more than 70 per cent of our funding and the support of the local press is absolutely vital to us.
“Our local paper, the Harrow Observer, shares many of the same values as the hospice.
“It is keen to encourage community involvement, celebrate the achievements of individuals and organisations with the borough, and encourage co-operation between local groups and charities.
“It provides invaluable support to the many charities and community groups in the area.
“We are tremendously grateful for their support.”