UK Police Chief Questions 'Just Stop Oil' Media Coverage

 Authored by Owen Evans via The Epoch Times,

The Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) said that journalists should be “thinking about” whether it was right to give eco-activists Just Stop Oil the “oxygen of publicity.”

UK Police Chief Questions 'Just Stop Oil' Media Coverage

David Lloyd told LBC’s Nick Ferrari on Thursday that officers may have “got it wrong” after LBC reporter Charlotte Lynch was detained while reporting on Just Stop Oil, which is currently causing widespread disruption on the M25, the UK’s busiest motorway.

Lynch described being handcuffed and detained on suspicion of conspiracy to commit public nuisance after having shown officers media accreditation.

Climate group Just Stop Oil, an offshoot of Extinction Rebellion, has been staging disruptive protests in an attempt to highlight its call for the UK government to begin the process of winding down fossil fuel production in the country.

But Lloyd said that journalists should be “thinking about” whether it was right to report on Just Stop Oil in such a way that gives them so much publicity.

‘Managing to Get Their Message Out There So Very Successfully’

“There is though something else, you’ve held me to account and rightly so about this and I have apologised for it, but I do think that you too need to work out how we as a society, as a community, ensure that the oxygen of publicity which Just Stop Oil is seeking is moderated,” said Lloyd to Ferrari.

The PCC added:

“And don’t get me wrong on this. I am not saying that we shouldn’t have a free press and it shouldn’t be reported.”

“But we do need to think where they sit on the front pages in newspapers, where they sit within reporting that LBC is doing because I think your editorial policy needs to reflect whether or not we want to be part of the problem which is how Just Stop Oil are managing to get their message out there so very successfully,” he said.

Ferrari asked if they shouldn’t cover them.

Lloyd said that he thinks “it’s more nuanced than that” saying that traffic bulletins need to cover that the M25 is closed.

He then drew a comparison with how he imagined the press would report on a person trying to take their own life on a ring road, which he did not think would be covered “in the same way.”

“But it strikes me for example when we have people who have mental health issues and are using those very same bridges and gantries because they wish to harm themselves, we don’t have as the lead story on any main media outlet that someone is standing there trying to commit suicide, we find ways of telling people that the motorway is closed and there is an incident,” he added.

“I think we’ve just got to ask ourselves as a society if we are handling the Just Stop Oil appropriately by giving them the oxygen of publicity,” Lloyd.

“I put it to you that you are far better versed in police affairs than I am, but perhaps in the news business I might just have the edge. This is news if you close vast tracks of a 116-mile orbital road because of one particular protest. That’s what we in the business call news,” said Ferrari.

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