Blackout probe thwarted

AN attempt to uncover why Perth council’s media staff have stopped responding to The Perth Voice has been shot down by lord mayor Lisa Scaffidi and councillors Keith Yong, Lily Chen and Judy McEvoy.

The Voice has gone 18 months without getting a meaningful response to our questions.

At Tuesday’s council meeting, Cr Reece Harley raised a motion requesting that council CEO Martin Mileham investigate the media blackout with the Voice and Post Newspapers.

“I don’t think it’s good enough that journalists are just never being responded to … it’s simply not good enough, it’s a disgrace from my point of view,” Cr Harley said.

He said providing the media with answers “enables them to be able to provide better balanced coverage because they hear both sides of the story.”

Cr Harley said he’d tried numerous times to resolve the blackout through discussions and emails with Mr Mileham and media department manager Annaliese Battista, but still our questions went unanswered.

Mr Mileham and Ms Battista have now agreed to meet with the Voice to discuss the non-response on May 2.

Cr McEvoy suggested we weren’t getting responses due to the tone of our coverage: “Anything I’ve ever had in the Voice has been totally negative, never a positive thing.”

Mrs Scaffidi was more vague, making references to how the media used to follow the Press Council principles, before voting against the motion to uncover why responses weren’t being given.

Cr Harley said “simply because a journalist [writes] a critical article is not a reason to not respond to their queries.

“Perhaps if you’re a private company, but we are a tier of government”.

Cr Jemma Green and James Limnios backed him but he didn’t have the numbers to carry the vote.

Cr Limnios sad “I believe we should be dealing with [all media outlets] equally.”

by DAVID BELL

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