Kensington council urged to lift media ban
29 June 2017
Following reports that journalists have been barred from the first meeting of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea council’s cabinet since the Grenfell Tower fire, the NUJ condemned the decision to stop media access and called on the council to change its approach.
Séamus Dooley, NUJ acting general secretary, said:
"We are deeply disturbed at the news that the Kensington and Chelsea council cabinet meeting tonight will be held in private. The ban on media attendance should be lifted immediately and we call on all council members to ensure that this matter of the utmost public interest is discussed in public.
"The horrific fire is a matter of grave public interest. The public has a right to know if public policy failures contributed to this disaster. There is no justification for behind-closed-doors discussions. This can only contribute to further alienation of residents who feel their voice has not been listened to.
"Members of the public, especially those affected by the fire, and the broader public must have their rights respected. The right to freedom of expression includes the right to information.
"Ultimately, elected representatives make decisions on behalf of their constituents and the local community.
"Decisions of the council should be open to scrutiny and conveyed to the public via independent media. Secrecy is the default position of those who seek to avoid accountability for their actions and on this occasion there is no room for anything less than complete transparency."