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Journalist refuses to reveal source: Council refuses to comment

A council is refusing to comment on a story about one of its officers being suspended, unless the weekly newspaper carrying the report reveals its sources.

The Walsall Advertiser is refusing to tell Walsall Council where it got the information from after the story was leaked to a journalist through one of his contacts.

The paper claims an “insider” said the employee in question was suspended for acting outside the remit of their powers.

And the authority is now keeping tight-lipped on the story in a tit-for-tat measure.

There has been no denial that a senior officer was suspended – but the council’s communications department is refusing to comment on the “anonymous allegations”, reported by the Advertiser’s George Makin.

Communications manager Robert Blower defended the policy not to comment unless the source was named, saying many stories of that nature were “mostly false” and “sometimes malicious”.

He told the Advertiser: “People don’t have the courage of their convictions so they go through the back door to the local press.

“We aren’t telling journalists to reveal their sources but aren’t going to comment on their sources’ allegations either.”

There has been a series of potentially embarrassing stories reaching the press from Walsall Council recently and employees found talking to the press could face disciplinary action. Official statements now pass through Mr Blower’s office.

CIN group editor Sam Holliday said: “There has been a lot of leaked stories and we think they are trying to close down the leaks.

“George works the patch well and people will always trust us with their stories.”

Do you have a story about the regional press? Ring 0116 227 3122/3121, or
e-mail pastill@nep.co.uk