Council Accused of Censorship over Scottish News of the World Website

The Scottish News of the World is a trifle disenchanted with Dumfries and Galloway Council senior managers, whom, it claims, have set up an internet filter which stops council employees checking out the newspaper, online.

And the Glasgow-based red-top has quoted a Labour MSP accusing council chiefs of “outrageous” censorship, and calling for the block to be scrapped immediately.

Reports the NOW, in a story by its Scottish political editor, Euan McColm: “Elaine Murray blasted: ‘The Tories and SNP must apologise for this sinister development. Newspaper censorship on political grounds undermines the democratic society in which we live. It's outrageous.’”

The NOW recalled how, in December, the council's SNP leader Rob Davidson …”had been caught lying about his involvement in an online smear scandal”.

The tabloid quotes Murray, saying: “Dumfries councillors and aides used the internet to smear opponents with vile lies -council bosses clearly don't want staff reading the paper that broke the story.

“The News of the World's investigative journalism is famous and exposed the smear operation. That is no reason to censor the website.”

The NOW said that a council spokesman suggested the block on its site was due to “bandwidth issues” – problems caused when too many people try to log on at the same time.

“But when staff attempt to view our site, the message that appears claims it's being filtered because it comes under online security firm Websense’s ‘tasteless’ category.”

The News International newspaper said that Tory council leader Ivor Hyslop has vowed to investigate the issue. “He (Hyslop) said: ‘We certainly have nothing against the News of the World. It may be a problem with the filtering process. I will speak to IT.'”

The NOW continued with its protest into its leader column. Under the heading: ‘We’ll Ban Web nIT-wIT’, it points out: ”Council leader Ivor Hyslop says he'll look into it tomorrow. And if he finds that it's some jobsworth council officer behind it, we've got the perfect solution.

“Next Sunday, we will ban him or her from EVER buying the News of the World again.”