City Hall has confirmed plans to provide a media centre for the “thousands” of unaccredited journalists expected visit London during the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
A dedicated 24-hour media centre providing workspaces and live broadcasting areas for over 250 journalists to cover London and the Games will be available at One Great George Street, the conference centre owned by a subsidiary of the Institution of Civil Engineers, for those journalists who have not been accredited by Olympic chiefs.
Officials stress that unaccredited journalists will not have access to the Games and say those using the facilities will have their work “informed by a pre-planned programme of activities and editorials designed specifically to showcase London to their audiences.”
The decision to provide the media centre has been questioned by some Assembly Members including Conservative AM Andrew Boff who used May’s Mayor’s Question Time to voice concern at the reputed £5.8m cost of providing the centre.
Defending the plans at the time, Mayor Boris Johnson said “My justification is that if you have, speaking as someone with some passing background understanding of the media, that if you leave these creatures to their own devices and you do not provide for them in a systematic way and you do not give them a source of reliable information, then you will be doing the project that you want to explain to the world a grave disservice.”
In a statement issued today the Mayor said: “Journalists joining us for these historic days in the summer of 2012 are now guaranteed a central working base in the heart of all the action. A stone’s throw from the London Media Centre lie some of the capital’s most iconic shots and locations, ready to be beamed into homes across the globe. I look forward to welcoming our visitors in 2012 and joining with them for the biggest party London has ever seen.”
With unaccredited media expected to cover the capital both as an Olympic venue and tourist destination, Visit London Chief Executive Sally Chatterjee said it was “vital that we work closely with journalists, make them as welcome as we possibly can and provide them with great news about the city.”