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ITV joins BBC in boycott of ‘woke’ Bristol Council as reporter banned for questioning Labour mayor

ITV has joined the BBC in boycotting Bristol Council mayoral briefings after the city council banned a local reporter for asking the Labor politician if he saw the irony of flying to Canada to give a short speech on climate change to keep.

Local Democracy Reporter (LDR) Alex Seabrook, who works for the BBC and the Bristol Live website, asked Mayor Rees if he could have done the 14-minute TED talk via Zoom instead.

In a clip that has now gone viral, Mr Seabrook was interrupted by a press officer who wondered if he could ask this question.

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

He and other LDRs have since been banned by the Bristol Council, but other journalists and organizations have rallied behind him – with the BBC yesterday, June 23, deciding to boycott Bristol Council.

ITV West Country has now joined the BBC and has pledged not to attend or cover the mayoral briefings until this ban is lifted.

Ian Axton, Head of News at ITV West Country said: ‘ITV News West Country is assisting other media organizations on this matter.

“We won’t be attending the mayor’s biweekly press conferences until the Local Democracy Reporters ban is lifted.”

In the chilling virtual press conference, Saskia Konynenburg, head of communications at Bristol City Council, said she didn’t think the reporter’s question about the mayor’s 9,200-mile tour in April to deliver a climate speech was “legitimate.”

She interrupted the local reporter and said, “My question is whether Marvin was fully funded by TED to participate, so I didn’t quite understand what the role of an LDR would be in asking that question. I think it’s probably for a newspaper reporter, but I don’t quite see the link to LDR.’

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

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. †

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, did you see the irony of flying so far for climate change, and second, why can’t you use Zoom?”

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

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

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.”

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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.”

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Mr Rees says he believes that 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 he finished 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 newspaper reporter, 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’.

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.”

However, this was disputed by Bristol Live editor Pete Gavan, who said: “In the past we had agreed to send other reporters to the mayoral briefings whenever possible, but we reserved the right to send the LDRs.”

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