DSEI arms fair, ExCel London 2003 © Philip Wolmuth
The LPB condemns the completely unwarranted withdrawal yesterday of the press accreditation of two TV journalists at the Defense & Security Equipment International (DSEI) arms fair at ExCel London.
According to branch member Jason Parkinson, one of the two who were excluded, the reason given by the event organisers was the use, by a member of the crew, of the #stopdsei hashtag in a tweet from outside the event. Tweeting to publicise stories and real-time coverage has become standard practice amongst lens-based and other journalists, as has the use of hashtags that will be picked up by the widest audience – in this case one popular with protesters opposed to the arms fair.
The crew, from video news agency Ruptly, were going about their legitimate business in a professional manner, and were unjustifiably prevented from working. The organisers’ statement that they ”reserve the right to grant, reject or revoke accreditation at any time, at their discretion” is not good enough. Such interference in the freedom of the press is unacceptable.