Harper’s No Spin Bunker?

by Hugh

Somehow this doesn’t seem right:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been working on a secret project to build a $2-million government-controlled media centre, a newspaper reported Monday…

The new briefing centre would supplant the 47-year-old National Press Theatre, a venue where government news conferences are moderated by the executive members of the Parliamentary Press Gallery Association, a group of newspapers, broadcasters and other media outlets who report on Parliament Hill…

Not knowing much about press on Parliament Hill, I wondered, “what could the reason for this be?” One answer:

One document obtained by the Star stated that the new centre is part of efforts to “put in place robust physical and information security measures to protect the prime minister and cabinet.” …

Paranoid, but, OK, maybe reasonable. (Then again, what exactly is “information security” as it relates to the PM’s press briefings?) More:

According to documents, the new centre could give the government control over which journalists attend news conferences.

Ah. Now that, it seems to me, should be illegal. It’s certainly undemocratic.

The government would also have the ability to do its own filming at the events, and could provide the footage to journalists, instead of letting them film the events themselves, the Star reported….

They could even do their own interviews!

Also reported in the article, Harper “has only made one appearance at the National Press Theatre, on Oct. 3.”

Interesting.

[via publicbroadcasting.ca]