BoJo backs local press Olympics lock-out campaign

London Mayor Boris Johnson is backing the campaign to give local newspapers press passes to cover next year's London Olympics.

As revealed by Press Gazette on 9 September, Archant's Newham Recorder is the only local title in London that has been accredited for next year's event. The Evening Standard is refusing to comment on how many press passes it has been granted.

Some 400 media accreditiations have been granted for UK newspapers to cover the London Olympics. Only a handful of passes are going to local media with the vast majority going to the national press.

When Press Gazette asked the Evening Standard how many press passes it has to cover the games we were told that the answer was: "no comment". The BOA has similarly refused to say how the 400 passes were divvied up and even declined to reveal what proportion were allocated to nationals and what number to regional titles.

A report on Newsquest's thisislocallondon.co.uk said Johnson is confident that local media will get to cover the Games.

A report on the website said Johnson found it "unfair on Londoners for them not to have their local media covering their athletes' stories" and that he was now in talks with London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) about getting media passes for Newsquest reporters in London to cover the Games.

Johnson was quoted as saying: 'I am very confident these talks will have a positive result. I would say it is not a question of if we will get the reporters in, but how many.'

All Newsquest's applications for the Games have been turned down by the body responsible for allocating press passes, the British Olympic Association (BOA).

Yesterday Press Gazette reported on Newsquest's Wimbledon Guardian securing the backing of its local council leader in its campaign for local newspapers accreditation.

Merton Council leader Stephen Alambritis said: 'The Games have rightly been promoted as being for the people, but preventing local journalists from attending this event goes against this great ideal."

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