Registering for the event this autumn will cost journalists £137 until 1 July and £880 after
The ruling Conservative Party has decided to charge journalists attending its annual conference “undemocratic” and should be left, said the British media coalition.
A number of media reports that the fees are “draconian” and refused to register for a Tory event in Manchester in October, the Evening Standard reported on Saturday.
The Conservative Party had already ordered journalists to cover the conference last year, saying it was necessary to prevent people signing up for accreditation and not attending. The party is committed to the same rules this year. Journalists must pay £137 ($169) by July 1 and £880 ($1,086) thereafter to register.
A coalition of industry bodies, which includes groups such as the News Media Association, the Society of Editors, the News Media Coalition and the Foreign Press Association, warns that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s party is setting: “Deeply worrying precedent in a democratic society”.
The coalition said its members are “considering unity as undemocratic and harmful to the interests of the society and the party itself”. the Tories’ decision to charge journalists with attending the conference.
“In a democratic society, all party conferences are of considerable political and public importance, and as such there should be no obstacle to journalists being able to act as the eyes and ears of the public, reporting freely on such events.” said in the statement.
The Tory Annual Conference is more than just a local event, it is “Gives the world a window to see UK democracy in action” added:
The authors of the statement say that they have been trying to contact the ruling party for more than a year to discuss the issue of fees, but to no avail.
A spokesman for the Conservative Party told the Evening Standard that “A modest charge has been made by some media outlets for discouraging over-credentialing.”
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He claimed thousands of accredited journalists had failed to turn up in previous years, costing the party tens of thousands of pounds in police security checks and creating a lot of paper and plastic waste.
He added that there are also exceptions for the media in a difficult financial situation.
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