The Democrat will not be gagged

The Dumbarton Democrat is an independent online news platform owned and edited in Dumbarton by Bill Heaney, a former newspaper editor who was a for a time a Special Adviser to the First Minister of Scotland. He has also worked as a PA and media adviser for the chairman of the Treasury Select Committee at Westminster and the Vice President of the European Parliament. He is most definitely not a billionaire. Bill Heaney is a Life Member of the National Union of Journalists and an Editor Emeritus of the Society of Editors. He has gained a number of industry awards, including Scotland’s Weekly Newspaper Journalist of the Year three times. He has worked on and off as a journalist in West Dunbartonshire and as an editor and freelance correspondent for the past 55 years. He has written three books, two of them about Dunbartonshire’s social history. However, West Dunbartonshire Council refuses to allow him to ask questions relative to his work. He has been told to contact the Complaints Department and not to speak with the Communications Department. The Council’s Chief Executive has told him to speak with the Communications Department and not directly with her. This is against all custom and practice involving journalists and public authorities. The Dumbarton Democrat is a legitimate media platform and the Council is denying its right to freedom of the press. This is censorship and discrimination. The Council has not given the editor any reason for these sanctions apart from the fact that it wants the online newspaper to join IPSO, an organisation set up after the lame lame duck Press Council folded post the Leveson Inquiry. There is no legal obligation on any publication whether online or off line to join IPSO. The Council’s insistence on this matter should stop now and normal service should be resumed as soon as possible. We do not wish to seek apologies or compensation of any kind. We want fairness and justice and to be granted our legitimate human rights. The Editor

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