When is it ok to ban a journalist?

Portsmouth FC have banned a local newspaper journalist from their ground after taking  dislike to a piece that he wrote. Although the club has neither suggested the article broke any law nor is libellous, it has decided to ban Neil Allen for an “indefinite period” from home matches, press conferences, speaking to the players and coaching staff or visiting the club’s training ground.

As Hold The Front Page reports,

News sports editor Howard Frost told HTFP: “It seems a bit petty. If (manager) Paul Hart wants to take exception, that’s his prerogative.

“It’s generally normal for managers and journalists to fall out but Pompey could have just said ‘Paul doesn’t want to speak to you’ and left it at that.

“Neil is disappointed. He can accept Paul Hart’s stance but we fail to see why Pompey have to ban him completely over an opinion piece – an opinion many fans shared after that match.”

Banning and cold-shouldering football journalists is a deeply ingrained part of the attitude of many football clubs. It raises the interesting question of where you draw the line when it comes to journalistic freedom. Almost everyone would be outraged if the Speaker banned a journalist from Parliament for writing a piece he didn’t like. On the other hand, almost everyone would feel it’s their own personal right not to let a journalist into their own home.

Where football clubs fall on that spectrum is often a matter for debate: they’re not public institutions, but they have a role in their communities and the sport has a role in the country that is different from most straight-forwardly commercial enterprises. It’s an issue that comes up with television rights too – should clubs be able to sell the rights to whoever they like or should some events be protected for free-to-air broadcast coverage?

In this case, is Portsmouth FC just a business that should be able to ban a journalist as it likes?

Read more by or more about , , , or .
This entry was posted in Op-eds.
Bookmark the web address for this page or use the short url http://ldv.org.uk/16771 for Twitter and emails.
Advert

2 Comments

  • Football clubs are a wee bit different to political parties – for starters, where there’s a rights contract involved (i.e. with TV or radio) then there’s usually a requirement on the club to make someone available for interview post-match. With the press, though, it’s standard practice that clubs have a “favoured” journalist to give stories to – these are usually hidden, but an obvious one is Rangers passing stories to BBC Scotland’s Chick Young.

    Ultimately, though, every individual or organisation has the freedom to choose who they want and don’t want to talk to, and it’s up to them how they want to do it. Putting it from a political viewpoint, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t ban from conference journalists who are perpetually dismissive of the Lib Dems (the obvious ones being the Dail Mail and the Sun) – but that would mean we’d probably get even less coverage and miss an opportunity to connect with another section of the public.

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?

Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarRoland 29th May - 7:16pm
    Interesting and relevant piece in the Guardian: "The new measure against so-called exclusivity clauses was much touted by Cameron in the Conservative party election campaign....
  • User AvatarRoland 29th May - 7:05pm
    @Jenny - An interesting point! Firstly I think there will be some employers who will make it clear to people on zero hour contracts what...
  • User AvatarEddie Sammon 29th May - 6:53pm
    Thanks T-J. I think Farron could be a good leader, but I like some interventions more than others. :p
  • User AvatarbrianD 29th May - 6:37pm
    I guess it depends on what you regard as evil and wicked. Reducing the maximum benefit income to our poorest families by £60 per week...
  • User AvatarMark Valladares 29th May - 6:27pm
    @ George, They did that here in Mid Suffolk too, in multi-member wards. Ironically, in one their declared second choice outpolled their declared first choice....
  • User AvatarMark Scott 29th May - 6:21pm
    I completely agree that we need to campaign on this. However I don't think Tom is right to suggest, as he did in an email...
Fri 29th May 2015
19:30
Sat 30th May 2015
Sun 31st May 2015
Mon 1st Jun 2015
Tue 2nd Jun 2015
Wed 3rd Jun 2015
Thu 4th Jun 2015
Fri 5th Jun 2015
Sat 6th Jun 2015
Mon 8th Jun 2015
19:30
Tue 9th Jun 2015
Wed 10th Jun 2015
Thu 11th Jun 2015
Fri 12th Jun 2015
Sat 13th Jun 2015
Wed 17th Jun 2015
Thu 18th Jun 2015
Sat 20th Jun 2015
Sun 21st Jun 2015
Thu 25th Jun 2015