Government stands up for its news service UK Online

The Government has launched an online news service aimed at bypassing the media and communicating directly to citizens.

The Government has launched an online news service aimed at bypassing the media and communicating directly to citizens.

UK Online launched this week under the control of cabinet office minister Ian McCartney. The site also acts as a central portal for accessing over 1,000 websites run by government departments.

At its core is a news service, dubbed 'Pravda.com' by The Sunday Times, which claimed the site was wasting 'millions of pounds of taxpayers' money' to present the news in the way Downing Street press secretary Alastair Campbell wants it presented.

The Government's director of e-communications, former BBC reporter Lucian Hudson, is the editor-in-chief.

He dismissed the adverse media comment as 'a complete work of fiction,' and said: 'We work to the highest journalistic standards. Our journalism is objective and factual. Information is buried in government. We are making it accessible.'

'People expect any organisation on the web to have its take on the news.

I see the news function as a way to make the site sticky. It's not about hype or spin,' he added.

The site - www.ukonline. gov.uk - is thought likely to prove useful to public affairs advisers. A consultations register means any issue on which the government is seeking external views can be accessed and contributed to online.

Craig Hoy, the editor of private sector politics portal ePolitix.com, said: 'The launch of another political web source confirms our belief the internet has a vital role to play in the way people interact with politicians and the state.'



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