Bristol news Support for reporter who challenged Bristol Mayor over air travel PremierLeague-News.Com
PremierLeague-News.Com - Support flooded in from across the industry and beyond after a video clip began circulating on Twitter
PremierLeague-News.Com - Breaking Sport Transfer News ! A local democracy reporter has been praised for asking questions about the Bristol Mayor’s overseas travel. Alex Seabrook, a BBC-funded journalist based at BristolLive, quizzed Marvin Rees about his decision to fly to America to speak at a TED event promoting climate change. But Alex was challenged during the press conference over his right to ask questions by a council comms officer. Bristol City Council has now reiterated that local democracy reporters are not welcome to attend the mayor’s fortnightly media briefings. A video from the meeting went viral on Twitter yesterday, with widespread support for Alex and the scheme from local and national journalists. BristolLive, which employs two BBC-funded Local Democracy Reporters, has decided it will not attend or cover any of the mayoral briefings until this ban is lifted. During this month’s online briefing, LDR Alex Seabrook had asked mayor Mr Rees whether he saw any irony in flying to California to give a 15-minute TED talk on climate change. But before answering, the council’s communication manager Saskia Konynenburg asked whether it was within the LDR remit to ask the question. Read more: Marvin Rees flies 4,600 miles for Ted talk on climate crisis She said: “My question is Marvin was fully-funded by TED to attend so I couldn’t quite understand what the role as an LDR would be in asking that question. I think it is probably from a journalist from a newspaper but I can’t quite see the link to LDR.” The mayor currently holds regular media Q&A’s but BristolLive has since been told the LDRs are not welcome to attend. The Local Democracy Reporting Service is a BBC-funded scheme with reporters given a remit to cover local authorities and elected bodies in a set region, providing the articles to other partners in the scheme. BristolLive and Bristol Post editor Pete Gavan said: “The LDR service is a vital piece of the journalism we offer to the city and the surrounding area. I give my wholehearted backing and support to both the Bristol LDRs and the great work they do holding the local authority to account. It’s absolutely vital that the BBC-funded reporters who make up the team locally are able to carry out their remit without interference. "The Bristol Post has a long history of championing the city and we have always sought to work closely with the council and politicians of all parties to support the best outcome for the city.
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. But we believe this is a key function of a free press - and a sign of a healthy democratic landscape. "Bristol is fortunate to be served by many different news outlets, which will have different priorities and audiences. The service that the LDRs provide is one which can be accessed by all partners. We believe it is an important shared resource and we are very concerned by the long-term implications of councils choosing to exclude reporters.” Matthew Barraclough, head of the BBC’s Local News Partnership, which oversees the public interest scheme, expressed his support.
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Writing on Twitter, he said: “This tweet [the video of the meeting] makes the case for the Local Democracy Reporting Service in a nutshell. Without LDRs working hard on behalf of local news media and their audiences, these "comms bosses" can control the narrative.” Bristol City Council has defended its right to exclude individual journalists and media organisations from its mayoral briefings, which unlike public meetings, are invite-only for accredited journalists. In relation to the questions which Alex asked the mayor, the council denied that it had obstructed the question and that the mayor had replied. A spokesperson said: “We welcome public discourse as part of a healthy local democracy and respect the vital role of local journalists within that. The mayor holds a regular press conference for news outlets in the city to provide for media scrutiny and transparency. “Relationships with journalists involve two-way dialogue and we will sometimes ask questions ourselves. In this instance, the journalist’s question had already been answered by the mayor when an officer politely queried their remit, given the specific nature and focus of the LDR role, and the fact that the story had already been widely covered and responded to two weeks previously. “The clip being shared online does not represent the full context of the exchange.” READ NEXT Get all the latest Bristol news here Marvin Rees signs clean air pledge days after announcing Clean Air Zone delay M4 Prince of Wales Bridge fire LIVE: Traffic updates as lorry carrying wine burns Elton John ticket 'mistake' All the best moments from Glastonbury Festival 2022's first day
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