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13 January 2016

Watch: government press officer tries to silence a Sky News journalist’s strike questions

“Hang on a second, we’re not dealing with this nonsense.”

By Media Mole

An official from the Department of Health tried to silence a Sky News journalist asking questions about the junior doctors’ strike.

In footage from Sky News on the eve of the strike, also broadcasted by the BBC on the day the strike took place, an interview with a clinician speaking on behalf of Jeremy Hunt was interrupted live by a government press officer:

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The journalist begins to ask his interviewee about the Health Secretary’s absence and silence: “Do you feel it’s good that doctors on the eve of a national strike, and indeed, the people who use the NHS, aren’t able to hear from the Secretary of State…”

“Hang on a second, we’re not dealing with this nonsense, like…” comes a voice of a government press officer out of shot.

“Well, we’re recording all this, so there you go,” replies the journalist.

“OK, well, we agreed to a series of questions, as the statement…” the press office ploughs on.

“Well, I didn’t agree any questions with anyone, but anyway, there we go, so, we’re here, in an interview, you’re the person the Department have put up for an interview…” says the journalist, turning to his interviewee.

“I’m a clinical adviser,” says the now rather traumatised-looking clinician.

“But you’re the person the Department of Health has put up for an interview. In a democracy, I think we’re allowed to ask questions of the representatives put up,” concludes the journalist.

Your mole doubts there will be many employment rights left for that press officer…

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