Solution still elusive in ban dispute

A RESOLUTION to a media release ban involving the Scottish Executive and the Daily Telegraph looks some way off from being found.

It follows the Telegraph’s Scottish editor, Alan Cochrane, writing last week about a media release issued by the Executive about health minister, Andy Kerr, launching a hand-washing initiative, despite an embargo still applying to it.

In Thursday’s Telegraph he wrote: “I hereby break the habit of a lifetime and defy the embargo placed upon this earth-shattering news.”

A subsequent telephone call between him and the Executive led to him writing in Friday’s paper that he’d be seeking confirmation on whether his paper had been banned, forthwith, from receiving future Executive releases that required an embargo to be honoured.

And, indeed, a ban had been imposed, as Andrew Baird, head of news at the Scottish Executive, intimated to both Cochrane and David King, the convenor of the Scottish Parliamentary Journalists’ Association.

Baird told Spike: “I can confirm that I received a letter from Alan and I have replied to it, explaining my decision and offering further discussion. I hope we can resolve this issue.”

But Cochrane was less conciliatory: “There’s nothing to discuss. He has lost his sense of humour. When it is restored, he can ring me.”