Police ban newspaper group from mailing list

Every
Independent News and Media paper was removed from a police force
mailing list after a journalist criticised the quality of their press
releases in a gossip column.

Jim Cusack of the Dublin-based
Sunday Independent made his comments about the Garda in a section
called Fifth Column. He said: “Press releases issued by this office are
of a trivial nature and of little benefit to news
reporters/journalists.”

The press office responded by promptly
banning every Independent News and Media publication from its daily
email news alerts, depriving 11 regional newspapers and five nationals
of their bread-and-butter crime reports.

Superintendent Kevin
Donohue explained the decision by saying “as the article appeared in
the Independent Newspapers’ ‘flagship’ publication, it is assumed that
this is the group’s editorial position”.

The ban only lasted 24 hours and was dropped after an official protest was launched by the National Union of Journalists.

NUJ
Irish secretary Seamus Dooley said: “I can understand why the press
office staff were critical of the views expressed by Jim Cusack of the
Sunday Independent.

“However, it is not acceptable that all
journalists or indeed any INM publications should be targeted because
of the views of one journalist. This would be the equivalent of writing
off the entire force because of the actions of a few Garda in Donegal.

“The
Garda press office should not seek to exercise editorial control in
this fashion or to teach journalists a lesson by threatening to
withhold information.”

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