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“My last ban was from the Assad regime in Damascus”: Newcastle United bans Channel 4 News reporter


A Channel 4 News reporter has become the latest journalist to be banned by Newcastle United.

Alex Thomson, who is actually a fan of the club, was banned from a press conference because he wanted to ask about media bans.

In recent years the club has become well-known for attempting to censor journalists, once banning journalists from the Newcastle Evening Chronicle and its sister titles The Journal and The Sunday Sun for 14 months.

Channel 4 News' Alex Thomson Channel 4 News’ Alex Thomson

The Daily Telegraph has also fallen foul of the club one at least two occasions, and recently The Mirror was the only newspaper invited to the announcement of the club’s new manager, Steve McClaren.

Other clubs have recently taken Newcastle’s lead and imposed their own media bans, including Scottish club Rangers.

And writing on his blog, Thomson said: “The current predicament of Channel 4 News says much about the bizarre ways of modern British football.

“We find ourselves banned today from a major football club because we wanted to ask about football clubs banning the media.

“The club? Why, Newcastle United of course – under Mike Ashley’s controversial control they have banned more journalists than any other club since 2007.

“Nowhere else in British public life is this kind of conduct tolerated.”

He added: “In no other sphere are journalists asked in advance what they wish to talk about at press conferences. Only in football is this apparently tolerated.

“The last time I was banned for doing my job was by the Assad regime in Damascus. That was because they didn’t like what I reported.

“Back in the UK, in Newcastle, at the football club I have supported all my life, you now get banned not just for what you do report but for what questions you might ask.”

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