1 November 2014

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Sports minister intervenes in Olympics access row

The minister for sport has pledged to write to Olympics bosses over the issue of press access for local newspapers for the London 2012 Games.

Last week HTFP revealed that none of Newsquest’s weekly titles in the capital had been allocated passes for the event despite it being held on their doorstep.

The Newsquest-owned News Shopper has launched a campaign to highlight the issue and Orpington MP Jo Johnson, the brother of London Mayor Boris, has now raised it in the Commons.

In response the sports minister Hugh Robertson said he would write to the British Olympic Association to investigate the matter.

Mr Johnson told MPs:  “It is a cause of great concern to me that local media, particularly in London — the city on whose good will the success of these games depends — are being shut out.

“Will he [Mr Robertson] join me in calling on the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport to look closely at the decision by the British Olympic Association to deny media accreditation to such fine local London papers as the News Shopper?”

Mr Robertson replied: “I understand the logic of giving as many passes as possible to the international media and national news outlets, but he is right that it has to be balanced with local media outlets, many of which have been extraordinarily supportive of the games and on whose doorstep they are taking place.

“There is a possible second channel for non-accredited media, and considerable provision is being made for those who cannot get formally accredited.

“The best thing that I can do now is to give my honourable friend a promise to write to the BOA about the matter.

“I will particularly investigate the position regarding London media, because this is a once-in-a-generation opportunity. I will come back to him with an answer.”

The BOA, which is responsible for distributing the passes, has refused to say whether any UK local or regional titles have been allocated passes.

Newspaper publisher Archant later revealed it had been allocated a single pass, for its weekly title the Newham Recorder whose patch includes the Olympic site.

5 Comments

  1. Old hack, Thames Valley

    Hardly surprising that the regionals have been ‘stiffed.’
    The accreditation process required papers to provide proof of their international sports coverage, and in particular of the previous games in Beijing!!
    For some reason, our paper did not cough up to send me off to China for a couple of weeks!!

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  2. Steve, Wilts

    I’ll be going abroad for the duration and getting away from all this nonsense.
    I expect there to be heavy rain and the whole opening thing will be a huge whelk.

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  3. Malcolm Bradbrook, Oxford

    How many times have local papers sent reporters to cover events like mountain biking / steeplechase etc before now rather than relying on submitted reports from sport clubs’ ‘press secretaries’?

    In my experience local ‘papers sports desks have been relying on submitted material for almost every sport other than one or two football/rugby/cricket teams per patch for more than a decade so what is different now?

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  4. King Juan

    Just use PA. If it’s good enough to fill 80 per cent of the front of paper, I can’t see the problem with merrily copying and pasting onto the back pages. :/

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  5. Paul Warren

    Can’t see what the fuss is about. The Olympics are a waste of time and full of drug cheats.

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