A campaign to boycott a weekly newspaper has been launched after a councillor threatened a reporter with “revenge” over two stories he did not like.
As revealed by HTFP last week, Islington councillor Gary Doolan emailed a reporter on the Islington Gazette telling him “I will seek revenge” after the stories were published.
Now the row has escalated after supporters of Coun Doolan launched a campaign for people to boycott the paper, claiming the stories in question were “unfair and derogatory.”
It calls on local people to sign a petition asking the title to apologise as well as ensuring its reporting is “fair and balanced” in future.
Coun Doolan told HTFP he was not involved with the campaign, which claims to have attracted 500 petition signatures, but added: “I hope it is a success.”
One of the stories related to claims that the councillor, who is also a GMB union official, threatened his own authority with bin strikes over a dispute.
The second involved the authority being sued by the councillor’s trade union on his behalf over an alleged data protection breach, after the email containing the strike threat was leaked to the Gazette.
An article on the campaign website says: “The Islington Gazette in recent weeks has been attacking a national trade union official for doing his job and standing up for members of his trade union. They have been in an unfair and derogatory manner printing untruths about him and his family.
“They use a political attack on politicians who speak out to defend the rights of hard working people, attacking their families in the public Gazette with no right to an honest response.”
The original revenge threat was made against reporter David Churchill, who has since left the Gazette to take up a role with the London Evening Standard.
Coun Doolan subsequently emailed David to clarify that his “revenge” would be of an industrial or legal kind, rather than any form of violence.
David told HTFP: “As a local journalist, I’ve been involved in a lot of campaigns. But with only 34 Twitter followers – most of these just union members – and 38 Facebook likes, I’d say they’ve got some way to go to convincing people.
“Having also received Tweets from Coun Doolan over the last week saying ‘you’re a small fish in a small pond, wanna step up to the big boys then go right ahead’, ‘don’t make me laugh posh boy’ and ‘advice for David, seriously find out who you’re dealing with, don’t bite what you can’t chew’, it doesn’t take long to realise the mindset of the people backing this campaign.
“Resorting to this type of so-called ‘campaign’ is pretty pathetic, even for trade union officials.”