Ulster Rugby to meet NUJ over ban on news reporters

Meeting comes after an open letter signed by over 90 journalists was sent in protest

Ulster head coach Jono Gibbes at a press conference at Kingspan Stadium. Photograph: Matt Mackey/Inpho

Ulster head coach Jono Gibbes at a press conference at Kingspan Stadium. Photograph: Matt Mackey/Inpho

 

Ulster Rugby will meet with representatives of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) on Tuesday following a recent ban on news reporters attending press conferences in the wake of the rape trial involving players Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding. Both players were found not guilty.

The meeting comes after an open letter, signed by over 90 journalists, was sent to Ulster Rugby in protest over the ban and requesting an urgent meeting with the chief executive officer of Ulster Rugby, Shane Logan.

The journalists are members of Belfast & District and Derry & North West branches of the NUJ.

In the letter, the NUJ pointed to Ulster Rugby’s policy of dividing news and rugby journalists and trying to restrict legitimate media coverage.

It said the “attempt to stifle media coverage of the context and consequences of the recent trial is an unjustifiable interference with the freedom of the press, and with the rights of everyone to freedom of information and expression.

“The sports journalists among our membership fully understand the wider public interest in this matter. We reject and condemn the attempt by Ulster Rugby to divide us by restricting access to rugby correspondents, while denying other bona fide journalists the right to ask questions.”

The restrictions came following Ulster Rugby concerns after an Easter Monday press conference when most of the questions centred on the acquittal of Jackson and Olding. A subsequent statement from Ulster saying they had consulted with regular press conference attendees before implementing the ban was refuted by rugby writers.

An NUJ official said on Friday that Ulster Rugby’s response to the open letter was “warm and encouraging.”

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.