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Calls for advertising watchdog to investigate Evening Standard after Uber interview

26 Oct 2018

 

 It has been revealed by Open Democracy that there have been calls for an investigation by the Advertising Standards Authority into the Evening Standard, which is edited by George Osborne, after what can only be described as a "gushing" interview with Uber CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi.

 

The basis behind the calls are the fact that the interview, which was presented as a news article, failed to inform readers that the minicab giant is one of several companies who are part of a £3 million deal called Future London.

 

Future London is a commercial deal where companies are promoted through positive news and commentary.

 

Lib-Dem, London Assembly Member,  Caroline Pidgeon and Green Party MP, Caroline Lucas have both called for an investigation.

 

Whilst the printed version of the Evening Standard did not mention the "Future London" initiative, the online version did give a minor nod to Uber's involvement with the project. 

 

It is considered "best practice" to highlight a company's involvement in such projects by using company branding and making sure that any commercial links are highlighted.

 

According to Open Democracy, the Evening Standard had claimed that "editorial pressure" had led to the ommission of any recognition of the initiative.

 

The excuse has, however, been branded as a "pathetic arse-covering exercise" as well as making the accusation that readers are being treated like idiots by an industry insider, the latter comment was made after a sentence was inserted after around 400,000 copies had already been circulated without any tie-in acknowledgement.

 

Questions have already been asked regarding George Osborne's role as editor when the deal was first announced.

 

Dara Khosrowshahi said in his interview with The Evening Standard that he would love to have the whole of the London Transport industry on the Uber platform, including Black cabs.

 

It has been widely believed that former chancellor, George Osborne is a major advocate of Uber, with many, including Steve McNamara at the LTDA accusing Downing Street of behaving like "paid up lobbyists for Uber."

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