By ERWIN CHLANDA
We had published here a report following an interview with Senior Fire Management Officer Lee Gleeson, on a matter of the highest public interest – how prepared are we for the coming fire season?
As we usually do we emailed a draft of the story to Mr Gleeson, ahead of publication, so he could point out any errors.
I then rang him and he said he was part way through reading the report (215 words) and he would call back in 10 minutes.
When I didn’t hear back from him I published the report.
He texted me saying (in part): “I have just run your words and my suggestions past my supervisor who has forwarded them to our media team – they will respond in due course.”
In a subsequent phone conversation I asked Mr Gleeson whether he felt any changes are required, which we could carry out immediately, if necessary as an error notice.
Mr Gleeson did not nominate any changes he considered necessary but explained the report would need to be approved by the media team.
He indicated that would not occur until next week.
I told Mr Gleeson that the media team is welcome to point out any errors.
The media team did not get in touch. Mr Gleeson withdrew his comments.
We pulled the story, after explaining to him that we will not submit our editorial decisions to government media teams for approval.
It is absurd that a senior public servant is not allowed to speak to the media on matters of his expertise. How can the public be expected to have faith in our administration when people like he are muzzled.