Livingstone calls Standard a 'pale imitation of Daily Mail'

LONDON - Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London and architect of the congestion charge, has lambasted the Evening Standard as a 'pale imitation of the Daily Mail', and said that it is out of touch with readers.

Livingstone makes his case against the paper in the Independent today. He has already objected about the Evening Standard's coverage of the congestion charge to the Press Complaints Commission, and had a letter printed in the paper in which he described one headline as a "bare-faced lie".

Since the Evening Standard, published by Associated Newspapers, appointed a new editor in Veronica Wadley, its agenda has changed and its relationship with the governing body of London has deteriorated.

In the Independent, Livingstone accuses the paper of portraying London as a "crime hell full of people scared out of their wits at the lawlessness and filth around them", and says that it does not balance its coverage by highlighting good points.

Richard Desmond, owner of Express Newspapers, is planning an assault on Associated's dominance in the capital. He plans to launch an afternoon freesheet called the Evening Mail in March, which will compete with the Standard and Associated's freesheet Metro.

Regarding Associated's dominance, Livingstone said: "The Standard controls the morning and evening London newspaper game and owns the advertising market in that sector. The absence of competition deprives the consumer of any power. It is in the nature of such private monopolies that they will exploit their unassailable position to their financial gain."

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