Press Freedom – A bizarre attack by Sefton’s Labour and Tory Cabinet members

I posted an item about the business of Sefton’s Cabinet yesterday but something else happened which was quite disturbing. I was chairing the Cabinet and its fractious debate about Council savings when out of the blue Labour got really upset about a reporter from a local newspaper who was recording events. As far as I was concerned she was simply doing her job but Conservative Cabinet members also got upset with her. The concern was that she was speaking to another person who was also witnessing the debate. The other person was Cllr. Sue McGuire who is not a Cabinet member, I would add.

The thrust of the attack on the reporter seemed to be that she was showing disrespect by talking whilst the Cabinet was in session! Well, I was sat nearer to the reporter then any other member of Cabinet and I could not hear what she said. Things got more than a little heated and the reporter was clearly upset by what was happening. But if that was not enough a motion to report the reporter to her Editor for showing disrespect was put down and carried with only the 4 Lib Dem Cabinet members opposing it. My reaction to this bizarre carry on was to say ‘is it national over reaction day?’

By the way it soon transpired that all that the reporter wanted to know was which Cabinet member was which as she had not been to a Cabinet meeting before. She asked this quietly to Cllr. McGuire and for the life of me I can’t see what all the fuss was about.

I felt really sorry for the young reporter who, as I say, was simply doing her job. Lib Dem Cabinet member David Tattersall was furious with Labour and the Tories for their attack on the young reporter and as a former member of the Nation Union of Journalists he jumped to her defence.

Politicians like to think they can get the press on their side but this shows how to wind the press up so you get some bad publicity!

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