Coventry Telegraph journalists reject suggestions paper has been 'gagged' and 'censored'

Journalists on the Coventry Telegraph have hit back at suggestions on social media that the paper has been “gagged or censored”.

The dispute centres around the paper's coverage of Coventry City Council's involvement in the RICOH sports stadium. The council voted this week to sell its shares in the stadium to Wasps rugby club.

The move comes after the announcement on Monday that editor of two years Alun Thorne was to resign.

His resignation came five days after that of political correspondent Les Reid.

Reid had been in dispute with Thorne and Trinity Mirror after being suspended from his job for nine months.

He is taking the company to a tribunal claiming that he was effectively forced out of his job.

There are said to be 18 journalists in the Coventry Newspapers NUJ chapel.

They said in a statement: “We are very sad that Coventry Telegraph editor Alun Thorne has taken the decision to leave the company for an exciting new job.

“In his two years with the Coventry Telegraph he has transformed the newsroom for the better.

“We refute any claims that the Coventry Telegraph has been gagged or censored. We reject any inference that our reporting has been anything other than fair, balanced and accurate.

“We believe we have a great team of reporters, production staff and management and we are proud of our achievements this year.

“We'd like to thank Alun for taking us into the digital age and giving newsroom morale a huge boost.”

The statement has been made in response to comments which have been made about the paper on social media and it is not said to be directly related to the Reid case.

Press Gazette understands individuals on Twitter and other social media websites have alleged that the Coventry Telegraph has not been subjecting Coventry City Council to sufficient scrutiny.

Reid told Press Gazette: "I understand fellow journalists' concerns about the reputational damage to the paper I worked hard for from hundreds of comments on social media.

"The NUJ Coventry chapel's meetings are usually attended by a handful of members, they will not know the facts of my case which will only come out at the tribunal and in the book [which he intends to write].

"Suffice to say many readers believe the Coventry Telegraph has not sufficiently scrutinised Coventry City Council."

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