ALBERTA

Notley Won't Limit Media Access To Government News Conferences

02/21/2016 12:48 EST | Updated 02/21/2016 12:59 EST

OTTAWA — Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says there will be no limitations on access to government news conferences while the province reviews its media policies.

Notley's comments to CTV's Question Period came in response to a controversy that erupted after the government barred contributors to a conservative website founded by political commentator Ezra Levant from new conferences earlier this month.

Alberta's NDP government prevented Holly Nicholas and Sheila Gunn Reid from the upstart website The Rebel from participating in two media events, including one at the legislature.

The Notley administration admitted it made a mistake by denying access after word spread about the government's move.

"Any purveyor in social media, or participant in social media, may attend and that's how we're going to go forward with this."

Notley says the government has asked a senior journalist to study media accreditation in conjunction with members of the legislature's press gallery and other representatives — a process she expects will probably include Levant.

Levant, a former Sun Media columnist, started The Rebel about a year ago and the site has been sharply critical of Notley's government.

"At the end of the day, and during that time, we've decided that there will be no limitations to who comes to our press conferences," Notley said of the review process in an interview with CTV.

"So, any purveyor in social media, or participant in social media, may attend and that's how we're going to go forward with this."

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