We are delighted to announce that our campaign has been successful, and the Conservative Party has agreed to drop the £137 fee altogether.
FPA Open Letter on Charges for Media Coverage at the Tory Party Conference
The Foreign Press Association in London, representing international correspondents in print, online, and broadcast media from all over the world, is fiercely opposed to the charging of journalists to attend the Tory Party Conference this Autumn.
We believe that a fundamental tenet of a free and democratic society is allowing journalists – from all over the world - to freely report on matters of public interest. We have not found any comparable charges in any other country in the world, let alone in any other democracy.
It is a shame that the UK, part of the Media Freedom Coalition, co-organiser of the very first Media Freedom Conference in the world, a country with a proud tradition of press independence, should be the first to effectively tax journalists for doing their job. As observers of this country we feel the need to speak out.
We have been told that the reasons for the charges are administrative, to cover the “thousands” of no-shows: yet there appears to be no proof of these no-shows and there is no other comparable event that requires journalists to pay for coverage. In fact, this decision sets a dangerous precedent for countries all over the world who will use this decision to justify financial and other barriers to media scrutiny of the political process.
We therefore call upon the Tory party conference organisers to scrap or refund the charges and allow fair and free reporting for all.
Signed By (A-Z order by country):
Fax News TV
KMA Albanian News
Hans Van Leeuwen, The Australian Financial Review
Network 10 News
News Corp Australia
Sky News Australia
The Sydney Morning Herald
APA News Agency
La Libre Belgique
L'Post & L’Post24 News
RTBF (Belgium TV)
Fernanda Zaffari, Bandeirantes BS
SBT TV Network
The Globe and Mail
China Daily UK
China Economic Daily
China Radio International
People's Daily UK Bureau
People's Daily Online
Social Sciences China Press
UK Cloud Media
Xinhua News Agency
Thanasis Gavios, Cyprus News Agency & PIK/CYBC
Czech Public Radio (Cesky Rozhlas)
Czech Public Broadcaster (Ceska Televize)
Europe Street News
Abaca Press Photo
AFP Agence France Presse
Francais a Londres
France 2 TV
France 24 TV
France 24 TV Spanish Service
Le Monde Diplomatique
ARD German Radio
ARD German Television
Christine Heuer, Deutschlandfunk (German Public Radio)
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ)
Germany Trade & Invest
NDR Norddeutscher Rundfunk
Sebastian Borger, Der Tagesspiegel
ZDF German Television
ERT S.A. (Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation)
Thanasis Gavios, SKAI TV
The Stand News
Yazhou Zhoukan (Asia Weekly)
ABP News Network
Press Trust of India
Iran International TV
Al Sharqiya News
The Irish Times
Il Corriere della Sera
Corriere dello Spettacolo
Il Fatto Quotidiano
Il Giorno QN
Philip Baglini, London One Radio
Il Resto del Carlino
Giorgia Scaturro, Freelance Journalist
The Asahi Shimbun
The JiJi Press
The Mainichi Newspapers
NHK - Japan Broadcasting Corp.
NHK Cosmomedia Group
Nikkei Business Publications
Tokyo Broadcasting System
The Tokyo Chunichi Shimbun
TV Tokyo Corp.
Timur Dyussekeyev, Kazinform News Agency
Kuwait News Agency
CNN Redaccion Mexico
El Principado Agency
Maghreb Arab Press
North South Publications
Geert Langendorff, Algemeen Dagblad
NOS Dutch TV & Radio
Discovery NZ Newshub
NRK Norwegian Broadcasting Corp.
PAP Polish News Agency
RTP (Radio e Televisão de Portugal)
Al Jazeera International
Channel One Russia
RTR Russian State TV and Radio
TASS News Agency
The Straits Times
RTVS (Public Radio & TV of Slovakia)
Yonhap News Agency
El Periódico de Catalunya
Euskal Telebista ETB
Onda Cero Radio
Sveriges Public Service Radio and TV
Basler Zeitung (BAZ)
Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ)
RSI (Swiss Italian Radio & TV)
RTS (Radio Télévision Suisse) Public TV & Radio
SRF Radio & TV
Tagesanzeiger Zürich (TAZ)
La Tribune de Geneve
Central News Agency
Taiwan National TV (Public Broadcaster)
The Reporter News
Tyzhden (Ukrainian Week)
The Daily Beast
NPR National Public Radio
The New York Times
The New Yorker
The Washington Post
Catherine Meyer, freelance journalist and former FPA President
Vietnam News Agency
28 May 2023
Publishers and Editors refusing to sign up to Conservative Party Conference in ‘draconian’ fees row
A row has broken out between the Press and the Conservative Party over plans to charge for media attendance at the governing party’s annual conference.
National, regional and international newsrooms are refusing to sign up to the Conservative Party’s Autumn Conference following the decision by the party to implement a fee for reporting on the event.
Editors regard the fee as draconian and counter to the Conservative party’s claim to be a defender of press freedom.
The decision, which has caused deep concern among a broad coalition of industry bodies including the News Media Association, Society of Editors, News Media Coalition and Foreign Press Association, comes ahead of the party’s upcoming conference to be held in Manchester in the first week of October.
The impasse follows a breakdown in communication after last year’s conference where the charges were first introduced. No other political party in the UK charges for press accreditation.
Normally hundreds of members of the Press attend.
Industry representatives have challenged the fees, charged at £137 for each journalist’s application, on the basis that any fee for media attendance at party conferences – regardless of the political party – sets a deeply concerning precedent in a democratic society. The decision by newsrooms to withhold booking for the event is also being supported by the Press Gallery of Westminster political correspondents.
In a joint statement today (Sunday, 28th May, 2023), the coalition of industry bodies said: ‘For more than a year, we have been seeking discussion with the Conservative Party to review these charges, as promised. This was to find an alternative solution to supposed concerns which the party seeks to address by charging the media for attendance – a decision which we are united in viewing as undemocratic and detrimental to the interests of society and the Party itself.’
The joint statement added: ‘In a democratic society, all party conferences are of considerable political and public importance and, as such, there should be no charging barrier for journalists to be able to act as the eyes and ears of the public by freely reporting at such events. Through objective journalism, the conference also provides a window for the global community to see UK democracy in action.’
Only last week (18/05/23), Lucy Frazer, Secretary of State for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) trumpeted the way she said the government supports and champions press freedom at home and around the world. She told a major conference that growing Press Freedom was a priority of the UK government. ‘If we want a thriving media sector in the future - our focus has to be on a free press and a press that is free to grow,’ she said. ‘As a government we are taking steps to increase press freedoms and make sure journalists can do their jobs effectively,’ Frazer stressed when speaking to delegates at the Enders Media & Telecoms Conference.
The Conservative Campaign Headquarters has stated previously that the fee is to cover admin costs which have risen because, it says, the party receives numerous Press pass applications from journalists who do not then attend.
In addressing this, the coalition of media organisation’s statement adds: ‘The issue of so-called no-shows is a factor experienced by all popular events of Press interest often due to changing daily news agendas. We have offered alternative ways to reduce the impact and cost of speculative applications, which have fallen on deaf ears. To live up to the Conservative Government's mantra on press freedom, the accreditation fee for attending the conference must be scrapped'.
Statement Issued on Behalf of:
News Media Association (NMA)
News Media Coalition (NMC)
Society of Editors (SoE)
Foreign Press Association (FPA)
24 February 2022
The FPA is a little like the UN of journalists. It is based in London but welcomes hundreds of correspondents from all over the world and it is only natural that, as we watch events unfold in Ukraine, our thoughts and prayers are with the innocent people in that country and with the many colleagues working to make sure that reliable and accurate reporting of this act of war reaches every corner of the world.
Many of our members will be covering the ways the UK is responding to the Russian attacks, and many others will be covering the invasion on the ground in Ukraine and in neighbouring countries. Please stay safe and continue with your fearless work. These are the times when truthful, rigorous, fact-based journalism is crucial. And these are the values the FPA has always upheld and in which we believe in, especially now at this crucial moment in history.
5 June 2020
The FPA condemns the unacceptable attacks on foreign journalists which took place here in London and are becoming alarmingly widespread all over the world.
We stand shoulder to shoulder in solidarity with all media colleagues affected, including our colleagues from Nine News Europe desk.
30 October 2018
On the day of Jamal Khashoggi's Memorial in London, the Foreign Press Association wishes to voice its strong concern about the increased number of threats, attacks and murders of journalists throughout the world.
In areas where there are conflicts or high levels of corruption and crime, the threat to journalists is well known. Now we are also witnessing targeted attacks and killings in Europe.
As we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we ask that responsible and fact-based journalism and press freedom be respected and supported. Not silenced. The media are not "enemies of the people".
We also ask that the perpetrators of the murders in Malta of Daphne Caruana Galizia, Jamal Kashoggi in Turkey, journalists in Mexico, Afghanistan, Bulgaria and across the world be held to account and brought to justice.