Spy job announcement a 'Twitter-free zone'

KATE CHAPMAN
Last updated 12:06 04/04/2013
rennie std
CRAIG SIMCOX/Dominion Post
IAIN RENNIE: Declared conference a Twitter-free zone.

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The State Services Commission caused an outrage this morning after declaring a press conference a "Twitter-free zone".

The ban was reportedly quickly overturned after negative reaction from journalists. 

An advisory was sent out this morning to inform media of a 15-minute press conference to be held at midday.

It follows revelations Prime Minister John Key shoulder-tapped friend Ian Fletcher for the top spy job.

State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie issued a strong statement late last night in which he denied suggestions the appointment of the GCSB chief executive did not follow proper processes.

The conference is the first chance media have had to question him since then.

But an unusual note on the bottom of the released said the press conference would be a "Twitter-free zone".

"CAMERAS AND RECORDING DEVICES WELCOME BUT NO SOCIAL NETWORKING WILL BE PERMITTED IN THE CONFERENCE ITSELF AS IT IS A TWITTER-FREE ZONE UNTIL THE CONFERNCE IS OVER,[sic]" it said.

While the content of press conferences often faces a blanket embargo, this appears to be the first time only social media has been banned.

The news was immediately spread all over Twitter.

Media commentator Russell Brown said Rennie had "done a great job of getting journalists in a rebellious mood", while several people suggested journalists present should tweet anyway.

"Wonder if SSC is worried about journalists crowd-sourcing questions during Q & A. Otherwise baffling," blogger Danyl McLauchlan said.

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- The Dominion Post

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