Lack of clarity about newspaper column written by local councillor

Questions have been raised about a weekly newspaper column written by a local councillor.

Labour Councillor for Wanstead Village, Paul Donovan, contributes a regular column to the East London and West Essex Guardian.

A subscriber to the newspaper’s website has posted several questions underneath the most recent online article.  The queries reveal a lack of clarity amongst readers as to whether Mr Donovan writes as an independent journalist or as a locally elected representative of a political party and whether he receives payment for his work.

“This Paul Donovan weekly column that the Guardian are publishing is something I find unusual in that there are always political undertones,” writes someone describing themselves as ViewpointE4.

“Is he the same Paul Donovan that contributes articles to the unbiased (obviously not communist) Morning Star?”

ViewpointE4 also questions whether Mr Donovan is being paid for his “published opinions”.

The Morning Star describes itself as “the only English-language socialist daily newspaper in the world”.  A search on the website reveals 194 articles written by someone called Paul Donovan covering areas such as football, the environment, air pollution and crime.

In its biography of Mr Donovan, the East London and West Essex Guardian describes him as a Redbridge Councillor but does not make clear his political affiliation.  His column is listed under News and is not identified as Opinion making it unclear whether he writes in his capacity as a freelance journalist or a locally elected representative of a political party.

The declaration of interests on the Redbridge Council website details Mr Donovan’s employment as a journalist but does not mention whether he receives any payment for his weekly contribution to The East London and West Essex Guardian.

Neither The East London and West Essex Guardian nor Mr Donovan have responded to ViewpointE4’s questions.

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