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Queen praises 'trusted' local newspapers

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THE Queen has praised the “vital community role” of local and regional newspapers and the part they play in covering the issues which most affect people’s daily lives.

Speaking at the annual lunch of the Newspaper Society, she said local newspapers were an intrinsic part of the communities they served and were “particularly trusted” by readers. The Newspaper Society is the organisation representing local and regional newspapers. Its president this year is Edwin Boorman, the chairman of the Kent Messenger Group.

The Queen told an audience of regional newspaper publishers, editors and their guests at London’s Savoy Hotel: “With [your] hundreds of journalists who live and work in the towns and villages of Britain – and not just in London – the regional press is the medium which is well placed to understand and give such comprehensive coverage to the day-to-day issues which affect people’s lives most closely."

The Queen stressed: “This traditional role of serving the community has never been more important than it is today. It seems to me that people need a sense of community, a sense of belonging, now more than ever, and your newspapers meet that need.”

The Queen, who was accompanied by Prince Philip, also spoke of her hope that a lasting legacy of this year’s Jubilee celebrations would be for communities to have been strengthened.

In a speech of thanks, Mr Boorman paid tribute to the 50 years of hard work and dedication the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh had given the country.

“As newspaper men, we know enough about public life to realise how demanding it is to always give your respect to those who expect it. An unrelenting 50 years commands our respect and deserves our admiration.”

The monarchy had “encouraged rather than blocked the progress of democracy,” he added.

“We live in the freest democracy anywhere in the world. Where else does a Prime Minister regularly face Question Time in the House of Commons? Where else can newspapers freely criticise the government without retribution? Where else do the comments and actions of the Royal Household matter so much?”

“This is not appreciated by those abroad, who head less democratic governments and sometimes it is taken too much for granted at home.”

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