Salford Star goes on strike in protest against council “intransigence”

Article published: Thursday, May 30th 2013

Community magazine Salford Star has gone on strike in protest against Salford Council blocking information.

Salford Star On Strike

Photograph: Salford Star/

The online magazine, which has been in publication for seven years and nominated in the past for the prestigious Paul Foot award for investigative journalism, says the council is illegally withholding information and propogating smears against the title.

The Star has not published anything for almost one week, and says it has gone on strike to draw attention to the need for independent journalism in holding local government to account.

“There are people in Salford who desperately need a voice and can’t get one because of the council’s intransigence”, explained editor Stephen Kingston.

Kingston accused Salford Council of failing to respond to Freedom of Information Act requests, handing out public funding for uncritical “community” media and its own publications, and said Salford Mayor Ian Stewart had failed to stick by promises of greater transparency since his election 12 months ago.

He also said that the magazine had been smeared by senior local politicians, with assistant mayor Gena Merrett accusing the Star of being a “key supporter of an extreme left wing party that intends to ‘smash the Labour Council and the Labour Party'”.

Merrett’s accusation was furiously denounced by Kingston, who accused Salford Council of “Tory tactics” in its attempt to block and discredit opponents. “For a Labour council to act like this is disgraceful. They’re not Labour anymore”, he added.

The drastic action taken by the magazine had been well received by readers, Kingston claimed. “We’ve even had people offer to climb up on the town hall roof” in protest, he said.

Kingston also said local government in Greater Manchester was  secretative and undemocratic. “Salford Council, with 52 Labour Party councillors out of a total of sixty, certainly has no `viable opposition,’” he explained..

“This is why a free and independent press, holding Salford Council and its Mayor up to account, is absolutely vital to maintain democracy in the city.

“This is becoming almost impossible under the autocratic regime that is currently in power in Salford, we have no alternative but to take a stand. For this reason, and to draw attention to the vindictive treatment of the city’s independent community press, the Salford Star is going on strike. Welcome to China by the Irwell…”

Salford Council declined to comment.

Richard Goulding

More: Council, News


  1. Another ‘No comment ‘ from Salford Clowncil .
    No surprise there at all .
    Well done to the Salford Star for taking a stand against the undemocratic , secretive , and wholly illegal refusal by Salford Clowncil to answer FOI requests .
    The Mafia are more responsive than this clowncil .

    Comment by H on June 2, 2013 at 4:16 pm
  2. Unbelievable that a council can remain unaccountable to it’s voters and tax payers. This is the paper George Monbiot applauded for it’s rottweiller- attitude, holding the powerful to account. This is the paper which has won national awards.

    Some of us wrote to Eric Pickles as he claims to champion independent local newspapers. NO REPLY was the loud response. Gary Younge of the Guardian was very helpful though. Seems like we are returning to Rotten borough status. Who do these people think they are? It’s our money.

    Comment by annette rimmer on June 4, 2013 at 1:10 pm
  3. These scum-politicians think they are unaccountable to the electorate .
    They are only in politics and local government for what they can grab for themselves. They have no interest in democracy and accountability .
    Time for REVOLUTION .

    Comment by Maggie on June 5, 2013 at 1:48 pm

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