Media blackout probe

PERTH councillor Reece Harley has requested CEO Martin Mileham investigate why the city has instigated a lengthy media blackout against the Perth Voice and Post Newspapers.

The city has a well-funded PR department, but senior media officer Michael Holland stopped answering questions from the Voice around 18 months ago.

The final communication in January last year was to tell us he was too busy to answer queries about the Grand Central backpackers — owned by lord mayor Lisa Scaffidi — because he was dealing with the mayor’s bushfire relief fund.

We alerted Mr Mileham and council communications manager Annaleise Battista about the lengthy silence last year, but got no response.

They’ve since offered to meet up on May 2 to discuss the issue.

Cr Harley’s motion “requests the CEO to investigate why journalists from the Voice and Post have not been receiving responses to media enquiries for more than 12 months”.

He’s moved “the council requests that all media enquiries submitted to the city be responded to in a timely and professional manner, and that no particular organisations or publications be refused access to answers from the city’s media liaison staff”.

The Voice and Post are both independently owned and renowned for their scrutiny of local government, but Perth council has even refused to answer emails on innocuous issues.

A recent snub included trying to inform our readers about the old Perth library closing and the new one opening up.

by DAVID BELL

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