Papenfuse’s newspaper ban draws criticism from council members

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Some Harrisburg City Council members are upset about the mayor’s decision to ban PennLive from media briefings.

Harrisburg Mayor Eric Papenfuse told ABC27 recently that PennLive is a gossip blog, and that caught the attention of councilman Ben Allatt who says media coverage and public office go together.

“It is free speech and it can be negative,” Allatt said. “That is why you ignore it at the end of the day.”

Papenfuse says that PennLive allows anonymous posts on its comments section that promote hate and divisiveness along with personal insults.  He will not invite them to press briefings and their media requests will be denied.

“I choose not to speak to them,” Papenfuse said. “My department heads can do what they want.”

Alan Kennedy-Shaffer says he voted for Papenfuse, but says he was disappointed when he found out that the mayor implemented a ban.

“Freedom of the press is vital to an engaged community,” he said. “It is the key to keeping government at all levels accountable.”

Papenfuse says he will lift the ban if PennLive changes its business model.

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