Ottawa mayor cancels policy blocking emails from city staff to journalists
Mayor Jim Watson said the idea behind the policy, which was introduced earlier this week, was to restrict communications between City Hall reporters to managers who have had formal media training, the Ottawa Citizen reported.
Ottawa mayor Jim Watson has cancelled a city policy introduced this week that blocked most staff from emailing journalists directly.
Watson called it "a very bad idea," the CBC reported. "I just directed the city manager to stop that, because we shouldn't be blocking emails,” Watson said, according to the CBC. “We have a process in place where there are people responsible for being spokespersons and that's great but I don't think it makes any sense to block emails for anyone whether you are a journalist or a member of the public, so I said that's the end of that.”
@rjottawa @mathieufleury. That's why when I found out about this I immediately cancelled the practice
— Jim Watson (@JimWatsonOttawa) June 6, 2013
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Watson said the idea was to restrict communications between the media to managers who have had formal media training, the Ottawa Citizen reported. The newspaper also said that email addresses of City Hall reporters were fed into the City’s email servers, so that messages sent to staffers could be received but they could not respond to the journalists. City Hall reporters were displeased with the policy.
Outrageous. RT @alexboutilier: Yup. The City of Ottawa's Freedom of Information office can no longer directly email reporters. #ottpoli
— Alistair Steele (@alistairsteele) June 6, 2013
Just found out city's access to info dept. can't email me anymore. Calling @suncityhall… bit.ly/16Lnsai #OTTPoli
— Jon Willing (@JonathanWilling) June 6, 2013
@jimwatsonottawa : I have asked… to have any and all such blocks removed, as they run counter to our desire for openness and transparency.
— John Hua (@johnhuaCTV) June 6, 2013
Apropos of nothing. caj.ca/?p=181
— David Reevely (@davidreevely) June 6, 2013
Tamara Baluja is an award-winning journalist with CBC Vancouver and the 2018 Michener-Deacon fellow for journalism education. She was the associate editor for J-Source from 2013-2014.