A regional daily which launched a “Right to Tweet” campaign has been prevented from tweeting again – this time from an employment tribunal.
The Daily Post in North Wales launched its campaign calling on all local authorities to allow reporters to tweet from meetings after journalist Steve Bagnall was hit with a ban at Wrexham County Borough Council.
Now Steve has again been prevented from tweeting live after covering an employment tribunal in Shrewsbury on Tuesday involving two senior staff members at a school who were claiming unfair dismissal.
The case has sparked a debate on Twitter about what the rules are on tweeting from tribunals and the paper is seeking a formal explanation about the reasons for its ban.
Editor Alison Gow tweeted: “Anyone aware of rules re live tweeting industrial tribunals? We’ve just been refused permission. Not come up against this before.”
Media law expert David Banks tweeted in response “Tribunals are a bit of a grey area, but why they would ban when courts have presumption in favour is a mystery. Not sure there’s any right to challenge, but would ask them to formally state reasons, to take up with tribunal service.”
In 2011, the Lord Chief Justice ruled that journalists should be allowed to update their followers from courts across England and Wales without having to seek the prior permission of the judge, but it is not clear whether this also applied to tribunals.
The paper is now awaiting a response from the National Tribunal Service, which is looking into the issue.
Dan Owen, executive editor for digital at the title, said: “It shows a general lack of understanding across the board about what people are trying to do and it highlights the campaign very nicely.
“Fingers crossed we can get some kind of resolution so there’s some form of protocol about it.”
The tribunal involved the case of Bernie Routledge, the former head of Howell’s School, and former PE head Helen Price and it ruled the pair were unfairly dismissed.
The Daily Post’s Right to Tweet campaign was set up following a spate of instances where local authorities imposed Twitter bans on journalists.
Following the launch of the campaign, a scrutiny group from Wrexham County Borough Council is examining whether the authority should allow tweeting from its meetings.