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Editors slam Downing Street after regional press denied access to PM

Boris Johnson A group of editors has complained to Downing Street after regional press journalists were denied access to Boris Johnson during a visit to their patch.

Journalists working for Reach plc in Devon were not allowed to attend a press conference or question and answer session held by the Prime Minister in Exeter on Tuesday.

The “snub” prompted Edd Moore, Reach’s digital editor for Devon and Cornwall, to criticise Downing Street in a series of posts on Twitter.

Devon Live also published a list of 12 questions it would have asked Mr Johnson if it had been given the chance.

Speaking to HTFP, Edd said he and other senior editors at Reach titles in the South West had written to Number 10 to “make our views clear” on the matter.

He added: “The regional press is playing a pivotal role in keeping the public informed in a responsible manner, in the face of constant uncertainty and confusion from many over the government’s approach to the pandemic.

“Journalists at local titles like ours are passionate about serving their communities and getting answers for our readers.

“Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, our digital titles have been the most popular and widely-read local news sources for information and advice to the public in Devon and Cornwall.”

Edd went on to note Devon Live stories were read 19 million times last month, which he described as “a local audience that is unparalleled in the region”.

He said: “Since the daily coronavirus briefings were ended in June, the regional press hashad limited access to the Prime Minister and other senior MPs and events such as this are a crucial way of the government communicating with the public, through titles such as ours.

“The Prime Minister visited Exeter at a time when students have just been placed into partial lockdown and Covid-19 cases are rising at an alarming rate.

“No local journalists were allowed to attend the press conference or Q&A session, even remotely, despite this.

“Snubbing the regional media at events such as this does nothing to improve clarity to the public or address the very real concerns people tell us about every day.”

HTFP has approached Downing Street for a comment.

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