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The Halifax Chronicle-Herald and Halifax Mail-Star have been labelled...

HALIFAX -- The Halifax Chronicle-Herald and Halifax Mail-Star have been labelled as 'little more than newsletters' for the provincial Conservative government by the secretary of the Nova Scotia Federation of Labor.

During Friday hearings of the Kent commission investigating media ownership, J.K. Bell said 'What we are reading in these Halifax papers is simply not 1981 journalism.'

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Both newspapers were 'blatantly anti-union and are little more than newsletters for the Progressive Conservative government' in Nova Scotia, the NSFL secretary said.

In most coverage of union activity the Chronicle-Herald and Mail-Star have openly sided with the anti-labor views of the government, Bell added.

The labor organization urged that a regulatory body, similar to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, should be established to oversee thenewspaper industry.

Chronicle-Herald owner and publisher Graham Dennis later defended his newspapers as having 'the highest standards and journalistic ethics.'

Arthur Moreira, Chronicle-Herald lawyer, also refuted labor federation claims.

'There is a theory at work here today that reporters are not doing their job unless they have someone to damn or condemn,' he said.

Liberal MLA Bill MacEachern, a former journalist, told the inquiry the Halifax dailies selectively ignored certain stories.

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Another publisher, William Beliveau, of Atlantic Insight magazine, told the inquiry national newspapers with regional editions will be the 'rule rather than the exception' before long and may be a good solution to the lack of competition in most markets.

He also said newspaper owners should not be allowed to own television or radio stations in the same market.

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