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Tories decry ‘new low’ for media after standoff over reporters’ access to Harper speech

October 18, 2013

By Josh Wingrove

After barring reporters from covering one of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s speeches, the Conservative Party is decrying a “new low for the Ottawa media elite” because some TV cameras refused to film the event if reporters weren’t allowed inside.

In an e-mail to Conservative supporters, the Conservatives’ director of political operations, Fred DeLorey, sought to explain why a speech Mr. Harper made to his caucus Wednesday won’t be seen “on the evening news.”

“You won’t believe what the Press Gallery just did in Ottawa,” Mr. DeLorey began. “Some media decided to boycott an important speech by our Prime Minister – one where he laid out his vision for our country, before today’s Speech from the Throne.”

On Tuesday, the Prime Minister’s Office announced cameras would be welcome inside Wednesday morning’s speech, but not reporters. In the past, both had. And the PMO has clashed recently with people trying to ask questions. One CTV cameraman was reportedly nearly banned from an overseas trip after shouting an impromptu question during one Harper event, while during the summer the RCMP whisked away a reporter who tried to seize a microphone during Mr. Harper’s Northern trip to ask a question.

On Wednesday, some TV stations refused to send in cameras without reporters. Most other media, including newspapers, were never offered the chance to come in at all – and therefore never given any opportunity to cover the speech live, much less boycott it. Read more in the Toronto Globe and Mail.



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