Chris Bird, a former director of Manchester City, and media advisor to many well-known businesses and personalities has hit out at a High Peak, Derbyshire Conservative MP for breaching intellectual property rules.
Robert Largan MP distributed a “newspaper” titled the High Peak Reporter, with the sole purpose of party-political promotion.
Bird is the former COO of Manchester City FC, is currently CEO of the Raheem Sterling Foundation, and began his career as a trainee at the Reporter Group.
He now owns Quest Media Network, which itself owns the brand title High Peak Reporter said: “I guess we should be flattered by this stunt, but we are not. Would Mr Largan have tried this with the Daily Mirror or Daily Telegraph? Absolutely not, because that would have cost him and his party a lot of money for the blatant breach and ‘passing off’ guideline”
The newspaper group, which also includes the Tameside Reporter, Glossop Chronicle and Oldham Reporter in its portfolio, has been publishing for 167 years, has 80,000 readers a week and reaches over 1 million people a month via its newspapers, radio station and digital network.
Bird added: ”I received a call on Friday night to alert me following numerous calls and emails to my CEO, Emma Marsh asking why our paper had agreed such a link with Mr Largan. I want to place on record that we are an independent media group owned by myself. We have no political affiliations and I feel that Mr Largan owes us a public apology and he should now make a donation to a local charity as way of recompense”
Matthew Littler from Mr Largan’s campaign office commented, ”We were unaware that there had previously been a publication in circulation with the name ‘High Peak Reporter’ or that this title is a current trade name. It was therefore a genuine error on our part, with no intention to deliberately mislead or infringe upon another publication of this title”