A regional news website was barred from photographing or filming Theresa May during an election campaign visit to its patch yesterday.
Cornwall Live says it was told the ban was put in place due to it being considered as ‘print media’ – despite the fact that it is a 24/7 website.
The site has also reported that its journalists were barred by the Prime Minister’s press team from being allowed to ask Mrs May about why the restriction was put in place.
All journalists present at the industrial estate in Helston, which Mrs May visited, were allowed two questions each for the PM before being ushered out of an interview room.
In a live blog covering the event, the site’s head of live Gareth Bartlett wrote: “Having covered several high-profile politicians’ and royal visits over the years, the level of media control here is far and above anything I’ve seen before.
“We’re not even allowed to show you her visiting the building.”
He added: “We’ve been allowed to ask our questions to the prime minister (although we are forbidden to film or photograph her answering them).
“We were given at most three minutes and were refused to be allowed to ask why we were not allowed to film her. Our reporter Lyn [Barton] was then ushered out of the room.”
Cornwall Live deputy head of content Steve Smith later tweeted that the ban on photographing or filming the PM had been put in place because the site is considered “print media”.
Head of content Jeff Reines added: “We weren’t allowed to film her and our reporters were even locked in a room. Democracy in action that is.”
Jacqui Merrington, the digital editor of Cornwall Live, said the restriction showed an old-fashioned attitude towards the media.
She told Media Guardian: “It feels like either contempt or a lack of understanding of what we do in the local press generally. You can’t expect any local media to be entirely print-focused now and not have any digital element.”
Jonathan Walker, political editor of the Birmingham Post & Mail and Newcastle Chronicle & Journal, added: “I may be biased but advice to any party doing a visit is to treat the local paper reporters like kings and queens for a day.”
A spokesman for the Conservative Party said: “One media organisation’s last minute request to add a camera to a pre-arranged pool of broadcast cameras was not possible this morning. The organisation’s journalists did interview the Prime Minister and their photographer accompanied the Prime Minister on a factory tour.
“Theresa May has so far taken four times as many questions from journalists as floundering Jeremy Corbyn while his cabinet can’t even answer basic questions about how they would pay for his nonsensical policies.”