ROYAL MAIL plans to scrap a longstanding service, the Newspaper Registration Service. This allows registered newspapers to send papers on a first class service for second class rates.
Royal Mail's move has sparked a campaign by trade union leaders, MPs and radical newspapers. They have issued the following statement:
"We are dismayed that Royal Mail seems intent on scrapping the longstanding Newspaper Registration Service. The service has been in place since the mid 19th century and is vital in ensuring the access to a variety of news and information on which meaningful democracy depends. Royal Mail claims the service is obsolete. In reality with local newsagents in Britain closing at the rate of one a day it is more vital than ever in ensuring small, independent publishers are able to reach people. Scrapping the service will only boost the domination of the media by the giant corporations and lead to a narrowing of choice. Royal Mail is still a publicly owned industry and surely ought to have some wider responsibilities than this. We call on Royal Mail to drop its plan, and for government ministers to intervene swiftly to ensure this happens."
Shocking rise in 'terror stops'
GOVERNMENT FIGURES this week showed what the anti-terrorism witch-hunt against Muslims means. Police stopped and searched 32,100 people in 2002-3 under anti-terror laws, the majority British Muslims. This is a 17-fold increase since the year 2000.
Of those 32,100 stopped and searched only 380 people were arrested-barely more than 1 percent. And the majority of those arrested were charged with immigration offences, and nothing connected with any form of terrorism.