Lord Coe declines to comment on Olympic press lock-out - Press Gazette

Lord Coe declines to comment on Olympic press lock-out

London 2012 boss Sebastian Coe today declined to comment after Press Gazette pressed him on the issue of regional press journalists being denied access to next year’s games.

Lord Coe, who is chair of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games, was speaking at a press conference in London this afternoon.

Freelance journalist Nikki Wicks said to Lord Coe, on behalf of Press Gazette: “More than 30m people read regional newspapers every week, why have only a small handful been accredited to cover the Games. Are there any plans to increase this?”

In response Lord Coe said that was “purely a question for the BOA (British Olympic Association)”.

Last month a nationwide committee of Newsquest editors wrote to Lord Coe stating that they had 9.5 million readers yet they had not been granted a single press pass to cover the Games.

Lord Coe has similary written back to them informing them that accreditation is not something which LOCOG has a role in.

Across England it is believed that only a handful of the 400 passes made available for newspaper reporters and photographers have gone to the regional press.

The breakdown of press pass allocations for the Games, between regionals and nationals, is being kept a closely guarded secret by the BOA.

The Newspaper Society is currently believed to be in negotations to secure 12 more press passes for regional newspaper journalists to work on a pooled basis at next year’s Games.

Even newspapers with big Olympic venues on their doorsteps have been denied single-event press accreditation so far.

London Mayor Boris Johnson last month promised to lobby Games organisers for more regional press accreditations.