JEREMY Corbyn was last night accused of “avoiding scrutiny” by the Fourth Estate and “top-down media management” when he refused to call a press conference allowing a range of newspaper journalists to interview him today during his first visit to Scotland since being elected Labour leader.

Following a photocall being planned with Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale in front of Holyrood, his aides said he would meet with three selected writers whose stories could be passed on to rivals on other publications. Such a “pooling” protocol is more usually reserved by reporters and photographers covering Royal engagements.

However, last night the Scottish Political Journalists’ Association said they would not take part in such an arrangement as it was not its role to decide on journalists’ access to politicians.

A separate bid by The National for an interview received no response as we went to press last night.

Dr Eamonn O’Neill, lecturer in journalism at Strathclyde University, accused Corbyn of “top down”, elitist media management which he warned would be counter-productive in terms of his attempt to win back support from pro-independence voters who had left Labour.

“Jeremy Corbyn’s strategy of only meeting with a [chosen] pool is neither smart nor particularly original,” he said.

“It’s rather clichéd and probably disastrous. If his mission is to reverse the Labour migration of its voters to the ‘Yes’ position, then I struggle to see the clever part of this strategy.

“It comes off as top-down elitist management of the media and possibly trying to avoid legitimate questions. Avoiding the press is not a press strategy.”

He added: “Excluding members of the print media is not a healthy sign at all. Anyone interested in true press scrutiny in a democracy, should recognise the print press has more space and time to reflect research, context and nuance of policy. Restricting their access is rather short-sighted and, indeed, daft.”

Paul Holleran, National Organiser of the National Union of Journalists Scotland, said Corbyn’s refusal to meet openly with journalists who had requested interviews reflected poorly on his commitment to transparency and accountability.

“I don’t think it does much for transparency and accountability when certain journalists or titles are excluded from a press conference,” he said.

“Our leaders should have the courage of their convictions to face up to robust challenges.”

Patrick Harvie MSP, co-convener of the Scottish Greens, said Corbyn’s handling of the Scottish press sounded like a scene from the television political comedy The Thick of It, starring the Scots actor Peter Capaldi as the communications chief Malcolm Tucker. He added: “If Mr Corbyn is serious about reconnecting his party with Scotland he really can’t afford to limit his exposure to Scotland’s journalists.”

Corbyn has spoken at considerable length about his reluctance to engage with the press and during his first conference speech as Labour leader criticised the print media, saying he preferred to highlight his message through digital and social media.

“That is the way of communication, it is not just through broadsheet newspapers or tabloids, it’s social media that really is the point of communication of the future. We have got to get that,” he said on Tuesday.

Over the past few days Corbyn has been accused of “failing to get Scotland” after he made a number of inaccurate comments about Scottish affairs, saying the SNP had privatised the country’s railways and the ferry operator CalMac.

Corbyn is today due to meet Dugdale, Labour MSPs, Scottish trade union leaders and Labour party activists after arriving in Edinburgh around lunchtime.