Judging by this week's edition, and despite only being launched in March, the Carmarthenshire Herald appears to be coming under pressure from County Hall over its publication of negative council news stories and its determination to get to the truth.
The Herald's statement, placed squarely on the front page, suggests that there has been a specific incident. It is astonishing and deeply disturbing that yet again, County Hall believes it can wield power to suppress and control the editorial content of the local independent press. It has learnt nothing.
The Carmarthenshire Herald is sending a very strong and very clear message to County Hall;
"..In Carmarthenshire, the council has sought to bully and intimidate the press by either threatening to cut off its advertising revenue or actually cutting its expenditure in local press.
Using its financial muscle it has encouraged other public sector bodies with which it has a relationship to do likewise.
The Herald will not be bought off or bullied into submission however; and if misguided people within the council think it will, they need to know we will not rest in pursuing real news stories and investigating real issues"
The article continues and adapts for publication my March blogpost concerning the review of the press and media protocol along with the council's 'form' for attempting to suppress criticism and investigative journalism, including the notorious incident with the South Wales Guardian; Ministry of Spin - Leopards don't change their spots
In light of the above, and with the revised press protocol on the agenda for Monday's Executive Board meeting the Herald posed some very pertinent questions to the council;
1. What was the reason the council felt it needed to consider revision of the press and media protocol?
2. Would you accept in the past that the council has deliberately compromised the ability of the local press to report on negative press and deter investigative journalism?
3. Would you accept as a press department that you and your colleagues have failed to get back to our Carmarthenshire correspondents on requests for the Carmarthenshire Herald since we started the newspaper?
The 'response', if you could call it that, came from Cllr Pam Palmer who, despite having made her derogatory views concerning the local press publicly known, has the portfolio for 'Communications', I doubt it was her who actually 'responded' and I doubt very much if the Herald expected an honest answer;
"The Policy and Resources Scrutiny Committee have been reviewing the press and media protocol - as they review all policies from time to time - and a cross-party working group was set up for this purpose. It is now going through the political process and will go to Executive Board on Monday"
I remain of the opinion that it is not Pam Palmer, nor Kevin Madge, or anyone else for that matter who has form for flexing dictatorial power - it is the chief executive Mark James who has always been at the root of the problem, and his disciples have been complicit in letting it all happen.
The damning findings of the WLGA review concerning the relationship between County Hall and the press are, it would appear, being treated with utter contempt.