Newcastle United have banned three local newspapers from home matches and news conferences for what they consider to be negative coverage of the club.
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The Evening Chronicle, the Journal and the Sunday Sun have all had access to the club revoked following what Newcastle described in a letter to them as "extensive" negative coverage of a recent protest march, staged before the home game against Liverpool on Oct. 19. "
The Magpies claim the papers’ reporting was "disproportionate" and also said they were disappointed that the number of those taking part in the protest -- a few hundred rather than 1,000 -- was not mentioned.
With the Chronicle choosing not to publicise the ban in the build-up to Sunday’s Wear-Tyne derby, the situation came to a head after Newcastle’s 2-1 defeat at Sunderland, when journalists from both the Chronicle and the Journal were stopped from asking questions at the post-match news conference.
Speaking about the matter publicly for the first time on Monday, the Evening Chronicle's editor, Darren Thwaites, said: "It's always disappointing to fall out with a football club but our independence and integrity is much more important. We may be banned but we won't be gagged. We all want Newcastle United to be successful, but it would be nonsense to pretend the fans are happy about what's going on behind the scenes.
"We're devoting more pages to Newcastle United than ever before -- both online and in print -- and we'll continue to do so. It's important for fans to know that our coverage is informed and independent. We've no intention of allowing the club to dictate what we can and can't print."