The AEJ has joined 13 other media freedom organizations objecting to the introduction of charges for media access to political party conferences.
The Conservative Party have introduced a charge of £125 for media accreditation.
The Labour Party introduced a £5 charge they say is voluntary and for carbon offsetting.
The Liberal Democrats, SNP, Plaid Cymru do not charge for media accreditation.
The media freedom organisations say accreditation charges could have “a particularly profound impact on freelance journalists, smaller outlets, local journalists and foreign correspondents” and “sets a dangerous precedent for countries around the world who will use this decision to justify financial and other barriers to media scrutiny of the political process.”
Joint Statement on the Introduction of Charges for Media Coverage of Party Conferences
- Conservative Party introduce charges for journalists’ access to conferences
- Alliance of media and free speech organisations warns any charges will restrict open democracy
Our organisations, representing print, online, and broadcast media and free speech organisations object to the introduction of charging for media access to the Party Conferences this Autumn.
A fundamental tenet of a free and democratic society is the principle of open government, and we believe this is best served by enabling journalists to freely report on matters of public interest and to stimulate political debate.
For any political party to restrict fair access by charging newsgatherers to attend conferences flies in the face of their public commitments to press freedom. While we understand staging well administered and secure events is costly, the news industry already contributes significantly by putting its reporting teams on the ground, backed by newsroom operations.
Admission fees, such as the £125 imposed by the Conservative Party, could have a particularly profound impact on freelance journalists, smaller outlets, local journalists and foreign correspondents. At a time when the UK government continues to assert its credentials globally, as a bastion of media freedom, this decision sets a dangerous precedent for countries around the world who will use this decision to justify financial and other barriers to media scrutiny of the political process.
We therefore call upon party conference organisers to commit to enabling a free press to inform society by withdrawing any charges on journalists to attend conferences.
Any such attendance fees are a tax on democracy, organisers must scrap the media access charges now.
|Foreign Press Association||European Federation of Journalists (EFJ)|
|News Media Association||Index on Censorship|
|News Media Coalition||International Press Institute (IPI)|
|Society of Editors||National Union of Journalists|
|Association of European Journalists||Professional Publishers Association|
|Commonwealth Press Union||Rory Peck Trust|