Between the Lines: Freesheets have no dignity

The free newspaper war in London has reached almost comic proportions, with Associated Newspapers resorting to hiring Inspector Knacker of the Yard to dig up evidence that its News International rival has been dumping unread copies of thelondonpaper in bins (page 8).

While agencies are worried about potential dumping from both publishers, there is also a fear the behaviour of Associated and News International, which responded by putting out pictures showing dumped copies of London Lite, is damaging the reputation of all free titles and the newspaper industry beyond.

It could be time, agencies say, for closer vetting of distribution of these free titles, as happened with free local papers in the late 80s, to ensure advertisers are getting what they paid for. In the meantime, sit back and enjoy the Punch 'n' Judy show.