The row over regional press accreditation for the London 2012 Olympics has intensified after it emerged that local newspapers also face being locked out from the rowing venue.
Local newspapers in the South Bucks and Berkshire area have helped recruit 500 ‘meeters and greeters’ for the Olympic rowing events which will take place on the Eton College Rowing Lake at Dorney.
But the papers face benig locked out from the actual event after failing to win accreditation from the British Olympic Authority.
It follows the revelation that Newsquest-owned papers in London have been denied accreditation for the main Olympic Park, with only the Archant-owned Newham Recorder so far gaining access.
Titles which have missed out on accreditation for the rowing events include the Maidenhead Advertiser and Slough and Windsor Express – both published by Baylis Media.
Editorial director Martin Trepte has since written to all the local MPs and the sports minister Hugh Robertson making the case for venue-specific accreditation for papers covering areas where events are to take place.
Said Martin: “We’ve devoted a huge amount of space in our titles to the Olympics preparations including a front page about calls for 500 local people to sign up as greeters for the thousands of visitors expected.
“Yet when the biggest sporting event in the world takes place on out doorstep we won’t be able to send a reporter and photographer.”
Martin’s letter has gone to Maidenhead MP Theresa May, Windsor MP Adam Afryie, Slough MP Fiona Mactaggart and South Bucks MP Dominic Grieve as well as Mr Robertson.
It says: “The Olympic rowing and canoeing events at Dorney will be happening in the heart of our news area. Yet all of our applications for accreditation to cover the games – for reporters, photographers and video for our websites – have been turned town by the British Olympic Authority (BOA).
“This is particularly disappointing given the huge amount of coverage we have already given to the preparations for the games to help engage the communities most affected by them.
“I hope that you will be able to assist us by highlighting that this issue is not confined to the capital and lobbying the BOA in the strongest terms to extend venue-specific accreditation to the local newspapers covering Dorney. ”
Earlier this week Mr Robertson pledged to write to the BOA to investigate the issue of press access for local newspapers.
The BOA has refused earlier requests from HTFP for a list of which UK regional or local titles have been granted access.