Villamedia/ANP – Tuesday, June 20, 2023 at 2:49 pm | 0 comments Join the conversation
Hundreds of global media companies accused the British Conservative Party in a statement on Tuesday of undermining press freedom by charging journalists fees to cover their annual conference. The French Press Agency, the American New York Times and Washington Post, the German newspaper Der Spiegel, and others signed an open letter on this matter. The statement was signed by nearly three hundred media companies from more than sixty countries, including China and Russia. On behalf of the Netherlands, it concerns NOS, NRC, Trouw, Algemeen Dagblad, De Telegraaf, BNR and NPO Radio 1.
The ruling party led by British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak asked the media for the first time to pay compensation in exchange for accreditation during last year's conference. And again this year, media will have to pay £137 (€160) to cover the conference, which will be held in Manchester in October. If they apply after 1 August, costs will increase to £880 (more than €1,000).
“Indeed, this decision sets a dangerous precedent for countries around the world who will use this decision to justify financial and other impediments to media coverage of the political process,” the statement said. “We are therefore calling on the Conservative Party conference organizers to cancel or refund the fees and allow fair and free reporting.”
The party itself claims the costs are necessary to cover the administrative costs of the “thousands” of journalists who do not attend. However, the UK-based Foreign Press Association said the party had provided no evidence of journalists failing on this scale.
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