A Twitter spat has broken out between a regional daily and a local councillor after he emailed the political reporter to say he “disliked” being approached for comment after meetings.
Tim Ridgway, political correspondent for The Argus in Brighton, took to the social networking site after receiving the email sent by councillor Christopher Hawtree, a member of the city’s ruling Green party.
He commented: “Amused after @chrishawtree sends me email saying he dislikes he asking him for quotes after meetings. Is that not a job of a local cllr?”
But Coun Hawtree responsed that he had a “great dislike” of the reader comments in The Argus and that he preferred to appear in other papers such as the weekly Brighton and Hove Independent or Latest Homes magazine.
A few hours after the first Tweet, Tim took to Twitter again to reveal that he had now been blocked by Councillor Hawtree – despite not engaging in any further discussion – and so was no longer able to contact him through the site.
But the dispute was picked up by readers and a fellow Argus writer, business reporter John Keenan, with some accusing the councillor of being “anti-free speech”.
Coun Hawtree continued to defend his stance, however, claiming Argus readers frequently made “disgusting” comments below stories, citing one reader who he claimed had suggested that all jobless people should be murdered.
He also said he found the New York Times a better read, directing people to a story about the Mayor seeking a ban on styrofoam.
Nobody from The Argus was available for comment. Councillor Hawtree has also been contacted for comment by HTFP but has so far not responded.