Why are our journalists banned from asking questions by West Dunbartonshire Council?
By Democrat reporter
Even Donald Trump cannot manage to get the press out of what is left of his hair.
The US president has restored the press credentials of CNN reporter Jim Acosta, pictured above left with President Trump, less than two weeks after withdrawing them over an argument during a news conference.
West Dunbartonshire Council’s communications department withdrew The Dumbarton Democrat’s right to ask questions of them and direct access to council officials – although no official reason for this has ever been given.
They agreed however to restore us to their media mailing list for press releases after we complained that banning us was contrary to local government custom and practice and that we were being denied our democratic rights.
UN Human Rights laws about freedom of speech appear not to extend to West Dunbartonshire Council.
The reversal in the Trump/Acosta case came days after a judge ordered the administration to reinstate the journalist’s press pass.
Different political stratospheres, but democracy is supposed to rule in both.
Announcing its decision on Monday, the White House also issued “rules governing future press conferences”.
These include allowing only a single question from each journalist.
Follow-up questions, the White House adds in a letter to Mr Acosta, will only be allowed “at the discretion of the president or other White House officials”.
The letter warned that further action against Acosta will be taken unless he follows the new rules.
Mr Trump has threatened to walk out of future press briefings if reporters do not act with “decorum”.
Reacting to Monday’s decision restoring his pass, Acosta said he was looking forward to returning to the White House.
Bill Heaney, editor of The Dumbarton Democrat, said: “I have raised this matter again with the SNP and West Dunbartonshire Council. It’s a clear case of shooting the messenger and a denial of our rights as journalists here. We would appreciate knowing why we are banned and boycotted and how long this going to go on for.”