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DWP blacklists disability campaign

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DWP reacts negatively after campaigners expose benefit related deaths

A news source for disabled people has been blacklisted by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) for exposing the link between benefit cuts and claimant deaths.

Disability News Service was launched in 2009 to highlight issues affecting disabled people.

Its investigative style has won it a huge following but now the DWP has stopped answering any of its requests for comment.

John Pring, who is a journalist for the site, was the first to reveal that a coroner had blamed the death of mentally disabled man on work capability assessments.

It took months of investigation to expose as the DWP wouldn’t acknowledge the findings.

The DWP’s press office now says it has ceased to deal with DNS and will no longer respond to it as a bona fide news organisation.

Its refusal to communicate with DNS appears to have been based on the allegation that DNS didn’t include comment by the government in news stories.

We consider the actions of the DWP to be highly offensive and discriminatory - John McArdle

This is because press officers missed deadlines, says Pring.

“John Pring has done more than any other journalist to expose the scandal of these deaths and hold the DWP to account," John McArdle of the disability fights group Black Triangle said. “The actions of the DWP are counter to transparent government and freedom of the press, upon which a functioning democracy rely.

“We consider the actions of the DWP to be highly offensive and discriminatory.”

DNS has proven to be a consistent thorn in the DWP’s side. Its stoic determination to uncover benefit-related deaths continues with campaigners saying the move to blacklist it will only galvanise their determination.