Dozens of journalists were turned away from one of the most newsworthy counts in a dispute over accreditation.
to the London borough of Tower Hamlets, more than 100 media
representatives put in a request to attend the Bethnal Green and Bow
count, where Labour’s Oona King was challenged by anti-war candidate
George Galloway from Respect.
The council claimed it could only
accommodate 60, so it excluded all photographers from the nationals
with the exception of the Press Association.
The NUJ and the Chartered Institute of Journalists made official complaints about the decision.
Stewart, from the British Professional Photographers’ Association,
said: “I’ve been covering general elections for 30 years and it’s the
first time I’ve ever been denied access to a count.
It was the most contentious count in London and probably the whole country and they didn’t allow fair access to it.
council said there was not enough space but the photographers who were
there were on a huge balcony and said there was plenty of room.”
gallery of the Eastwinter Garden in Docklands has a capacity of 250 and
according to Tower Hamlets’ communications office, half of this was
allocated to the press. A spokesman said that in addition to reporters
there were six camera crews and photographers from the East London
Advertiser and The Wharf.
He said: “We were trying to accommodate as many people as possible and enable the people that were there to have space to work.
had to draw the line somewhere and unfortunately, although we let
national newspaper reporters in, there wasn’t sufficient space for
photographers as well.”
● Nearly a million viewers watched video
clips on the BBC website on 6 May, with the most requested clip being
George Galloway’s acrimonious interview with Jeremy Paxman.
who ousted Labour’s Oona King with a margin of 823, was asked several
times if he was proud to have got rid of one of the very few black
women in parliament.
Galloway accused Paxman of badgering him and “conducting one of the most absurd interviews I have ever participated in”.
The inverview ended after Galloway said: “Can’t you find it within yourself even to congratulate me on this victory?” to which Paxman replied “Congratulations, Mr Galloway”.
Galloway said “Thank you very much” before removing his microphone.