Downing Street bans OpenDemocracy from asking a question at Covid-19 press briefings

OpenDemocracy reporter James Cusack has revealed that he has been prevented from asking a question at the daily press briefings. OpenDemocracy has said an adviser in 10 Downing Street directly told the chair of the lobby, the Daily Mirror’s Pippa Crerar – who arranges the list of media organisations appearing at the daily briefings – that openDemocracy would not be allowed to ask any questions. They corroborated this by publishing the email from Crerar.


OpenDemocracy’s recent reporting has exposed serious flaws in the COVID-19 testing regime, publicised concerns among doctors for the safety of critically ill children then revealed hospital logs which support their fears and it has highlighted the costly negligence battles the government is preparing to fight over NHS worker deaths.


These stories have been picked up by all the major news outlets.


Hacked Off Director Kyle Taylor said,


“This attack on freedom of the press comes during the biggest crisis the UK has seen in 100 years. It is totally inappropriate for the Government to pick and choose which journalists it will answer questions from in this way.  The fact that OpenDemocracy has a record of being critical of the Government suggests this may be a calculated attempt by the Government to suppress a news organisation’s scrutiny of the administration.  That behaviour is worthy of a totalitarian dictatorship.


If the Government continues to refuse questions from critical outlets, daily press briefings will become nothing more than propaganda for the Government.”



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