Notting Hill Carnival defends decision to charge press to cover event

The organiser of the long-running event has defended its new policy, which requires journalists to pay £100 and share their coverage, saying it will reposition the carnival's brand and ensure its financial sustainability.

Notting Hill Carnival: policy to charge for coverage has outraged media organisations
Notting Hill Carnival: policy to charge for coverage has outraged media organisations

The London Notting Hill Carnival Enterprises Trust (LNHCET) has introduced the policy this year. Under the new conditions, professional and amateur journalists must pay a fee of £100 and share with the organisers a selection of their blogs, videos or written coverage, which must produced from secured areas during the event. The work will then be judged in a competition.

The policy has sparked outrage from media associations, including the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), which is urging its members to reject the terms.

John Toner, freelance organiser of the NUJ, said: "It is not acceptable that the media are expected to pay a fee to cover 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."

The News Media Association has asked the LNHCET to rethink its policy. Andrew Moger, executive director of the association, said: "Unilaterally imposing new arrangements, costs and controls is not the way forward."

The LNHCET has released a statement defending the policy, saying it will empower its newly created media team as well as control media flow at the event. The organiser added that the policy will not prevent anyone from taking photos of the event in unsecured areas and the LNCHET will not claim rights to work produced by members of the media.

The trust has also issued a list of intended outcomes from the policy. These include developing a "structured mechanism" to prevent exploitation of the event and the people who make it possible, repositioning the carnival’s brand, producing officially approved, quality media packages of the event, increasing the carnival’s financial sustainability, engaging new audiences nationally and internationally, and developing the carnival’s own digital archive.

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