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23 June 2022

NMA Condemns Bristol Council Local Democracy Reporters Ban

The News Media Association has strongly condemned the banning of Local Democracy Reporters from the Bristol mayor’s briefings as a “blunt assault on the principles of local democracy” and called for the journalists to be allowed access immediately.

LDR Alex Seabrook, employed by Bristol Post and BristolLive, quizzed Bristol mayor Marvin Rees about his decision to fly to America to speak at a TED event promoting climate change, but Alex was challenged over his right to ask questions by a council comms officer.

Bristol City Council subsequently stated that LDRs are not welcome to attend the mayor’s fortnightly media briefings leading to BristolLive to decide it will not attend or cover any of the mayoral briefings until the ban is lifted.

That stance was backed by independent website Bristol 24/7 and NationalWorld, which operates the Bristol World website. 

NMA deputy chief executive Lynne Anderson: “The NMA condemns the banning of Local Democracy Reporters from the Bristol mayor’s briefings  - a blunt assault on the principles of local democracy - in the strongest possible terms.

“By preventing local journalists from scrutinising their activity, Bristol City Council are disenfranchising the public they are supposed to serve. We stand with our colleagues in calling for an immediate end to this wholly misguided and deeply damaging ban.”