NUJ ensuring photographers' access to Pride in London
PRIDE IN London (PiL) organisers refused accreditation to many freelance photographers in 2019. A challenge by the NUJ led to a climbdown and access being granted to many more photographers. We've since had a very constructive meeting with the PiL Communications team on how they can better support media access and seek a more transparent accreditation process for PiL 2020.
PiL outlined the constraints they work within which includes the requirements of the Greater London Authority, Westminster Council, the Metropolitan Police and Transport for London in trying to ensure access and safety for hundreds of thousands of Pride participants and spectators. PiL's comment last summer regarding "security" issues influencing the decision to refuse photographer accreditations was very unfortunately phrased. The security issues were not in relation to photographers per se, but to the numbers accessing the parade.
Over 600 photographers applied for accreditation, a significant jump from previous years. Every element of the event has a limited capacity in terms of numbers. The PiL team were only able to increase the number of accreditations given by taking numbers from other categories, the overall limit was unchanged.
The vast majority of those involved with PiL are volunteers, including the board of Directors. The structure includes an Operations Team who make the key decisions on numbers of people and the security arrangements in place to meet the health and safety requirements they must work to. Any delays or obstructions along the route slow the parade down and add to the time needed for security operatives and thus to the cost of the event which totals around £1.3m to run.
The organisers are building in more raised platforms and areas for photographers along the route to provide additional points to get unobstructed views of the event. Options are still being considered to support access in and out of the parade.
The PR team manage the accreditation process. We have provided guidance on how they can improve the application process, including seeking evidence of NUJ membership, press cards and commissions. We also explained that many freelance photographers may work on spec and we do not want them to be disadvantaged without a direct commission.
We have requested that volunteer stewards are briefed on the role of the press and how to work with visual journalists. Also being considered is press briefing to outline the logistics of the event and how visual journalists can move around the restricted areas and work with stewards to gain access. We are awaiting further information on the timescale of the accreditation process.
Recommendations for members:
- The more information you can provide on your application for accreditation, the greater your chances of being successful.
- Each group in the parade has a maximum number of places allocated to them. If you are likely to be booked by a union or organisation to cover their float or activities, they should seek to include you within their contingent.
We will meet again to continue discussions and welcome insights and suggestions for improvements from members who have covered Pride in London in previous years. We welcome suggestions for improvements from members who've previously covered Pride in London, via firstname.lastname@example.org.