In letters signed by The BPPA, the News Media Association, the Chartered Institute of Journalists, the British Association of Journalists and the Foreign Press Association in London and sent to the Editor of The Times and the Director of Communications, Marketing and Engagement for the Royal Parks the five organisations made it clear that restrictions placed upon news-gatherers excluding them from areas open to the public were unacceptable. The text of the letter to the Times said the following:
We are writing on behalf of professional photographers and journalists spanning the breadth of the UK news media industry.
This week, we have written to the Royal Parks to raise concerns about a clause in their news permits which prevents filming and photography at the back of No 10 Downing Street from Horse Guards Road or Horse Guards Parade.
This clause, which has recently been further tightened, unnecessarily restricts the legitimate activities of photographers seeking to report on hugely significant events happening right at the seat of power in this country.
The back entrance to Downing Street is an extremely important location for public interest news, particularly around a general election when a Prime Minister may change, or for reporting on activities taking place within Downing Street such as the Partygate. We are asking therefore that the permits are updated to remove these restrictions.
- Owen Meredith, NMA chief executive;
- Dominic Cooper, Chartered Institute of Journalists chief executive;
- Matthew Myatt, British Association of Journalists general secretary;
- Deborah Bonetti, director, The Foreign Press Association in London;
- Paul Ellis, chair, The British Press Photographers’ Association.
The Times then followed this up with an editorial on page 9 of today’s edition (Thursday September 1st 2022). The letter to the Royal Parks made the same points.
The Royal Parks in London have (for a fee) issued permits allowing photographers to take pictures in their open spaces for many years. This always made it difficult for those wishing to cover the rear entrance to Downing Street but, in a recent revision to the rules, it became almost impossible.
The BPPA has been involved in several attempts over the years to sort out this issue and we hope that this latest effort will make the working lives of our members that little bit easier. In an ideal world the Royal Parks Permit would become a thing of the past and hope that this latest chapter in the long-running saga brings us into that world.