Bristol Council bans journalists from questioning Labor mayor

The council that runs one of Britain’s most vigilant cities was accused today of stifling free speech after banning a reporter from asking a Labor politician why he flew across the Atlantic to capture a ​​to give a 14-minute speech on climate change.

Local democracy reporter Alex Seabrook, who works with the BBC and the Bristol Live website, questioned Marvin Rees about the ‘irony’ of traveling to Canada to give a TED talk about saving the planet when he could have done so on Zoom.

Seabrook, who asked Mayor Rees why he felt it necessary to cross the Atlantic after declaring a “climate emergency” earlier in 2018, will now no longer attend press conferences after his bosses accused the council of stifling freedom of the people. expression.

Saskia Konynenburg, head of communications at Bristol City Council, intervened at a toe-curling press conference and said she disagreed with Mr Seabrook’s question about the mayor’s 9,200-mile carbon-spraying tour in April to climate speech was ‘legitimate’.

Describing herself as an “influential communications leader, focused strategist and creator of innovative content,” Ms. Konynenburg spent only three months as a reporter, according to LinkedIn, working largely for the public sector and charities.

When Mr Seabrook said it was his job to hold the mayor to account, she replied: “I think it’s probably from a newspaper reporter, but I can’t quite see the link to LDR, but I’ll show it.” thereby. †

In a toe-curling press conference, Saskia Konynenburg, head of communications at Bristol City Council, intervened, saying she disagreed that Mr Seabrook’s question was “legitimate.”

Local democracy reporter Alex Seabrook, who works with the BBC and the Bristol Live website, questioned Marvin Rees about the 'irony' of his long flight to deliver a lecture on climate change

Local democracy reporter Alex Seabrook, who works with the BBC and the Bristol Live website, questioned Marvin Rees about the 'irony' of his long flight to deliver a lecture on climate change

Reporter Alex Seabrook (left), who works for the BBC and the Bristol Live website, questioned Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees (right) about the ‘irony’ of his long flight to deliver a lecture on climate change

Life in Bristol: Britain’s most awake city

Cider boycott

Bristol’s vigilant warriors were once again ridiculed by calling on the public to boycott a popular cider producer for his weak ties to slave trader Edward Colston.

The ‘Countering Colston’ group – which is campaigning to clear Bristol of its estate – was labeled ‘heartless bastards’ in February for urging drinkers not to buy Thatcher’s Cider.

Activists are angry about fourth-generation cider maker Martin Thatcher’s membership of the Society of Merchant Venturers, which is now a charitable organization dedicated to education and care for the elderly, but in its previous incarnation Colston had been a member and heavily involved in transatlantic slavery.

Jury acquits ‘Kill the Bill’ rioter who stole weapon from PC and kicked his shield

In May, a jury acquitted a Kill the Bill rioter after admitting he acted in self-defense when he stole an officer’s baton and kicked their shield — months after BLM activists who had pulled down a statue of Edward Colston also walked freely.

Kadeem Yarde, 24, was one of hundreds of young people who marched on Bridewell Police Station in central Bristol on March 21 last year.

More than 40 officers were injured in the ‘mass disorder’ that saw the windows of the police station smashed and several vehicles set on fire.

The demonstration was organized to express dismay at the police law, the sentencing law and the courts, and the riots were later dubbed the ‘Kill the Bill’ protests.

Feminist student loses negligence case against ‘awakened’ Bristol University over claims bosses supported trans activists who threatened her

In April, a PhD student lost her bid to sue the University of Bristol after she claimed to be collaborating with trans activists who wanted to “cancel” her when she said only biological women can give birth.

Raquel Rosario-Sanchez claimed college heads failed to protect her when the argument exploded over the use of the word “motherhood.”

Feminist Ms Rosario-Sanchez said Bristol — dubbed the country’s “wokst” university — failed to crack down on transgender activists who targeted her in a two-year hate campaign.

Mayor Rees was labeled a ‘bully’ and an ‘egoist’ last year after councilors – including from his own Labor group – accused him of sidelining them and stopping the debate.

Bristol City Council was branded awake after it paid for the installation of purple light bulbs to mark the death of George Floyd during a BLM vigil. The city’s mayor took part in protests in his city against Brexit.

He also cited the toppling of Edward Colston’s statue in the city as an act of “historical poetry.” A referendum was held in Bristol in May 2022 to decide whether the city should be run by a mayor or a council-led commission system. The city voted 59% to abolish the post. Rees will remain mayor until 2024 before the job is scrapped.

The Local Democracy Reporting Service is a news agency funded by the BBC, with reporters working on regional titles in the UK covering local authorities and other public services.

During the June 8 press conference, Mr. Seabrook asked, “I want to say that your TED talk was very interesting.

“I was wondering first, if you saw the irony of flying so far for climate change, and second, why can’t you use Zoom?”

Mr Rees says he believes there is ‘no irony’ because ‘mayors should be involved in shaping (inter)national policy.’

He added: ‘We can’t leave it to national politicians because they let us down, we saw that at COP. Bill Gates was there.

“He was there to fight climate change. Elon Musk was there.

“So the question is, how do you get the biggest platform.

‘Then it’s how do you maximize the platform for that?

“With the best will in the world, we won’t give it that platform on the Bristol Live website, will we?”

But after speaking, Ms Konyenburg suggested the question was inappropriate for Mr Seabrook in his role as LDR.

She said: ‘As far as your role as an LDR is concerned, I believe it would be to report and impart unbiased coverage of the regular work of local authorities and public bodies.

“My question is whether Marvin was fully funded by TED to attend this conference, so I didn’t quite understand the role of an LDR asking these questions?”

The reporter replied: ‘It holds people who lead local authorities to account, obviously as the leader of Bristol City Council there were questions about the huge amount of carbon emissions from flying to date. So I think it’s a legitimate question.”

Mrs. Konynenburg interrupts: ‘I think it’s probably from a journalist from a newspaper, but I don’t quite see the link to LDR, but I’ll leave it at that.’

The Bristol Post agreed today not to send Local Democracy Reporters (LDR) to events held by the Bristol City Council mayor, a council spokesman said.

But they insisted that the LDR reporters were not excluded.

It comes after a councilor taunted one of the reporters, part of a BBC-funded news service – for being ‘not a newspaper reporter’.

Marvin Rees speaks to protesters on College Green in Bristol protesting for the EU and against Brexit

Marvin Rees speaks to protesters on College Green in Bristol protesting for the EU and against Brexit

Saskia Konynenburg, head of communications at Bristol City Council, disagreed that a question about the mayor’s 4,600 CO2 blast to deliver a climate speech was “legitimate.”

The question was asked by Local Democracy Reporter Alex Seabrook, who works with the BBC and local Bristol publications.

A spokesman for Bristol City Council confirmed there was a ‘longstanding’ agreement that the reporters would not be sent.

They said: “There has long been a mutual agreement between the Mayor’s Office and the Post about staff attending press conferences when they are announced and held, and that LDRs would not be sent because of the narrow definition of their role as impartial interviews.”

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