The excellent Jack of Kent legal blog has the full details of the brewing story in Hackney, where the council had already been accused of wrongly excluding the manifesto of the Conservative Party’s Mayor candidate, Andrew Boff, from the booklet sent to the public. (The Mayoral elections in Hackney have similar rules to those for Mayor of London, whereby all candidates submit artwork which is then collected in a booklet and sent out to all electors.)
In addition, Hackney Council is now accused of repeatedly misinforming members of the public, telling them that in fact not only was there no Conservative manifesto in the book but also that there was no Conservative candidate in the election.
Jack of Kent’s piece has the details, including a link through to the local newspaper report that includes a full audio recording of one of the phone conversations in question. For those interested in more general journalism issues, the use of this recording is symptomatic of the way in which journalism is changing. In the past, Hackney Council’s press statement giving a version of the phone conversation would have made the story into a “he said / she said” exchange, leaving the reader with no solid grounds for believing one side or the other. However, the availability of the recording means that we can all put the press statement to the test.
It’s another example of what we have seen with photos and footage at demonstrations that provide evidence to compare again the police’s account. Technology has made it far easier for people to record evidence with which to challenge the official version of events.