Conservative party conference fees undermine press freedom

  • 11 Jul 2023

The NUJ has welcomed a Council of Europe alert urging a reversal of admission charges to this year’s Conservative party conference.

The Conservative party is charging a £137 application fee to journalists attending October’s conference. The introduction of charges has been condemned by the NUJ and by the Council of Europe, who have called for the party to refund charges paid and scrap the policy.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said:

“The cynical and shameful decision of the Tories to impose charges on journalists to attend their Party Conference, is a clear undermining of press freedom from a government that is now facing international criticism as a result. No political party should be allowed to introduce costs that effectively filter attendees and prevents public scrutiny of their policy making and activities.

“The NUJ has previously challenged the party on fees, flagging the particularly damaging impact costs will have on smaller local news outlets and freelance journalists. We welcome the Council of Europe alert and its recommendation that charges are scrapped. The Tories must not ignore warnings of this attack on press freedom or risk other countries following suit.”  

The Conservative party has previously stated charges are to support administrative costs.  

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