The Society of Editors has this week written to the Conservative Party to oppose the introduction of a £125 fee for all journalists wishing to attend its upcoming October party conference in-person.
The letter, addressed to the party’s Director of Communications and co-signed by the News Media Association, News Media Coalition and the Foreign Press Association in London, calls for the party to reconsider the fee pointing to the “significant public interest” in reporting from party conferences on behalf of the public.
It said: “The media fulfils a vital role in a democratic society and annual conferences play a significant part in shaping party policy and setting the party’s platform and agenda for the year ahead.
“Given the significant public interest in covering party conferences – not least by the governing party – it is imperative that attendance to the media remains free, open and unrestricted. By limiting access to only those who can afford to attend, this endangers the principle of a free media and comes at a time when budgets are already significantly stretched.”
The Conservative Party conference will take place from 2nd to 5th October 2022 in Birmingham. According to the party’s website, members of the media can purchase a ticket at an early bird price of £125 before 31st July with this rising to £800 if purchased between 1st August and 25th September. Any media tickets booked after 26th September will cost £1,250.