Council Denies Gag; Anger over Claims Officers Were Trying to Influence Press

Article excerpt

Byline: Eryl Crump

FEARS that a North Wales authority was trying to prevent councillors from speaking to local media were unfounded, a council committee heard last night.

Several Anglesey County Councillors had complained to the authority's resources committee that the accuracy of comments made in articles which appeared in a local newspaper were being questioned by officers.

Committee chairman, Coun Elwyn Schofield, said: "Concern was expressed that this could be perceived as an attempt by the council to influence the local press."

He said last night that a letter, sent to the editor of the Holyhead and Anglesey Mail, had created an impression that the paper was unfair towards the council.

Coun Schofield added that councillors' concern had grown after questions had been asked about the letter sent to the paper at the last meeting.

"I asked an officer about the letter and he said he knew nothing about it.

"But when I spoke with the editor (of the paper) it was clear that officer knew about it, " he said.

Last night Coun Schofield reported his findings to the committee.

He said he was satisfied that the newspaper was not unfair.

"I have spoken to both the chief executive and the editor of the paper.

"I have seen evidence of constructive articles written in the local press about the council. …