Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Copeland Council tries to gag News over leak

THE Whitehaven News was threatened with legal action last week by Copeland Council over today’s published story about the council’s plans to restructure the senior management team.

Details of the restructure were leaked to us, and last Wednesday, after we approached the council for comments, it brought in solicitors who threatened to apply for a court injunction if we failed to meet specific conditions.

They demanded a written undertaking by the Editor “not to make use of the [leaked] document whatsoever” and to return it to the council by hand by 2pm last Wednesday.

The Whitehaven News was given 30 minutes to comply. We did not do so and argued via our solicitors that the public interest outweighed any question of confidentiality in deciding to publish.

There had also been suggestions from within the council that co-operation on stories and advertising could be withdrawn in future.

Editor Colin Edgar said: “That is tantamount to blackmail. We will not be bullied.

My comment: Bullying people is the only thing council CEOs appear to be good at.

Read the full story from the source The Whitehaven News 

Read all articles about Copeland Borough Council on this blog

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