By Michael Akinola
Journalists wishing to cover the popular London Notting Hill Carnival are being asked by organisers to pay an accreditation fee of £100 and to share their articles, photographs and video with them, reports said.
Accredited journalists have also been invited to submit their work into an official awards competition run by the carnival organisers – London Notting Hill Carnival Enterprises Trust.
Foreign language journalists have been told that they must provide LNHCET with an English language translation of their work after publication.
The carnival takes place from August 29 to 31 and is acclaimed to be Europe’s largest street festival.
Official accreditation entitles journalists to access controlled press areas, arena events and lets them use a press tower which is being installed this year.
The accreditiation form states: “In the interests of safety of everyone involved, accredited press are asked to keep within the designated areas, behind the barriers.”
It also says: “Accreditation provides access to all areas managed by LNHCET and in no way aims to prevent the public or media from taking photos outside of these areas.”
Lobbying group the News Media Coalition said in a statement: “News organisations, whose coverage of the Notting Hill Carnival over many years has contributed to worldwide recognition of the event, have deplored restrictive media rules for this year’s parade.
“Despite the valuable publicising and promotional effect of news photography and carnival reports from independent journalists, organisers this year have sought to introduce charges for press access.
“Carnival organisers have also demanded that accredited media hand over material in addition to paying the £100 charge.”
The group, which represents the interests of major UK publishers and national and international news and photographic agencies, has written to the carnival organisers objecting to the rules, seeking dialogue and also withdrawal of the fee for managed news access.
It said: ‘We strongly urge carnival organisers to rethink this policy, which can only serve to reduce interest. The success of the carnival as one of the most colourful cultural spectacles has come about through press and carnival and arenas working together. Unilaterally imposing new arrangements, costs and controls is not the way forward.
National Union of Journalists freelance organiser John Toner said: “It is not acceptable that the media are expected to pay a fee to cover what is a genuine news event. It is equally unacceptable that the organisers expect pictures and video to be supplied free for their commercial purposes.
“For an individual freelance, this could mean working at a loss. We see no reason why freelances should be expected to subsidise the Carnival.
”We would urge all members to reject these conditions and to cover the event from public spaces.”