The BBC is boycotting mayoral briefings in some of Britain’s worst cities after the council banned a journalist from asking why he flew across the Atlantic in a 14-minute speech on climate change.
Alex Seabrook, a local democracy reporter working for the BBC and the Bristol Live website, asked Labor Mayor Marvin Rees about the “irony”. Traveling to Canada to give TED talks to save the planet when he could in Zoom.
Mr Seabrook, who asked Mayor Reese why he saw fit to cross the Atlantic after declaring a ‘climate emergency’ in 2018, said he would no longer attend press conferences after his bosses accused the council of undermining freedom of expression.
Other journalists have rallied around in support, with the BBC and other local news outlets confirming they will not send representatives to the mayoral briefings while he is banned from attending and demanding the ban be lifted.
Saskia Koninenberg, Bristol City Council’s communications chief, intervened, saying she disagreed that Mr Seabrook’s question was “legitimate” during the mayor’s 9,200-mile carbon-spouting round trip to the climate talks.
Ms. Koninenberg describes herself as an ‘influential communications leader, focused strategist and innovative content creator’ and for just three months in her career was a reporter who worked extensively for the public sector and philanthropic organizations, according to LinkedIn.
When Mr Seabrook said his job was to take the mayor into account, she replied: ‘I think it’s probably from a magazine reporter, but I can’t see the link to the LDR, but I’ll leave it there. ‘
Saskia Koninenberg, head of communications at Bristol City Council, intervened at the press conference, saying she disagreed with Seabrook’s question.
Alex Sibrook (left), a reporter working for the BBC and the Bristol Live website, asked Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees (right) about the “irony” of his long flight to talk about climate change.
Mayor Rice was branded ‘threatening’ and ‘arrogant’ last year when councilors – including his own labor group – accused him of sidelining and shutting down the debate.
Bristol City Council woke up after paying for purple lightbulbs to set up a BLM surveillance for the death of George Floyd. The city’s mayor joined a demonstration in his hometown against Brexit.
He called the erection of a statue of Edward Colston in the city an act of “historical poetry.” In May 2022, a referendum was held in Bristol to decide whether the city should continue to be governed by a committee system led by the mayor or council. The city had voted 59 percent in favor of dismissing the post. Reese will continue to serve as mayor until 2024 before leaving office.
The Local Democracy Reporting Service is a news agency funded by the BBC, in which journalists work with local authorities and other public-service bodies on regional headlines across the UK.
At a press briefing on June 8, Mr. Seabrook asked: ‘I would like to say that your TED talks were very interesting.
‘I wonder, first, if you saw the irony on such a long flight for climate change, and second, why can’t you use Zoom?’
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Kadim Yarde, 24, was among hundreds of young people who rallied at the Bridwell Police Station in Bristol City Center on March 21 last year.
More than 40 officers were injured during the “mass disorder”, in which the windows of a police station were shattered and several vehicles were set on fire.
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Raquel Rosario-Sचेnchez was accused by university leaders of failing to protect her after a row erupted over her use of the word ‘motherhood’.
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Mr Rees said he felt “no irony” because “mayors need to be involved in national and international policy-making.”
He added: ‘We can’t leave it to the national politicians because they are failing us, we saw in the 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.
‘So how do you maximize the platform for this?
‘With the best wishes in the world, getting it on the Bristol Live website isn’t going to give us that platform, is it?’
However, after he spoke, Ms. Konenberg suggested that the question was inappropriate for Mr. Seabrook to ask about his role as LDR.
She said: ‘With regard to your role as LDR, from my understanding, it is to provide reports and impartial coverage on the regular work of local authorities and public sector bodies.
‘My question is that Marvin was fully funded by TED to attend this conference, so I don’t fully understand what the role is in the LDR asking those questions?’
The reporter replied: ‘This is catching the people leading the account to the local authorities, apparently the leader of Bristol City Council as there have been questions so far about the large amount of carbon emissions from the flight. So I think that’s a valid question. ‘
Ms. Koninenberg interacts: ‘I think it probably came from a newspaper reporter, but I can’t see the link to the LDR, but I’ll leave it there.’
The Bristol Post has agreed not to send Local Democracy Reporters (LDRs) to events hosted by the mayor of Bristol City Council today, a council spokesman said.
But they insisted that LDR reporters were not banned.
It comes after the head of the council attacked a journalist from the BBC-funded news service – because he was “not a newspaper journalist”.
Saskia Koninenberg, Bristol City Council’s communications chief, disagreed that the mayor’s 4,600 carbon-spouting trip to climate talks was “legitimate”.
The question was posed by Alex Seabrook, a local democracy reporter who works with the BBC and local Bristol publications.
A Bristol City Council spokesman confirmed there was a “long-term” agreement not to send journalists.
He said: ‘There has long been a mutual agreement between the mayor’s office and the Post about announcing and organizing staff to attend the press conference, and LDRs will not be sent because of the narrow definition of their impartial role. Service. ‘
However, Bristol Live editor Pete Gavan has disputed this, saying: “In the past, we have agreed to send other journalists to mayoral briefings as much as possible, but have reserved the right to send LDRs.”
The BBC described Mr Seabrook’s decision to ban him from the briefing as “deeply disappointing”.
A spokesman said: “We are deeply disappointed by the mayor’s decision not to allow the Bristol LDR to hold its fortnightly press conference.
“It is an essential part of local democracy for a journalist to be able to ask strong and challenging questions to the people in power.
Marvin Rees speaks to pro-EU and anti-Brexit protesters at Bristol’s College Green.
“We have informed the mayor today that the BBC will not participate in the fortnightly mayor’s briefing until this important issue is resolved.
“We will continue to attend all other meetings and report to the city council and the mayor as usual.”
They were followed by local news outlets Bristolworld and Bristol 24/7, both confirming that they would not send reporters to cover briefings until the ban was lifted.
BristolWorld said in a statement: ‘BristolWorld will not send delegates to the mayor’s fortnightly press conferences while local democracy reporters in the region are barred from attending.
‘In the interest of openness and transparency, it is important that journalists are allowed to question Marvin Reese on all issues affecting our city.
“Blocking the access of LDR reporters indicates the degree of control over who and who can’t ask those questions, which we say is wrong.”