Pride in London criticised for barring press from parade route

The anti-trans group disrupting Pride in London's 2018 parade

Pride in London is under fire after barring journalists and photographers from entering the parade route during Saturday’s (July 6) Pride march.

The decision to exclude the majority of accredited media from the parade route was confirmed just days before, with organisers citing safety reasons.

New ‘security arrangements’ means journalists can’t enter parade

Ahead of the event, an email to accredited media explained: “Pride in London have been working with our agency partners to review the security arrangements for Pride in London 2019.

“We’ve made a number of changes to the parade route which will enable us to make the parade more secure. This includes significantly reducing the numbers of people with access to the route itself.”

Accredited media are no longer permitted within the parade route

Accredited media are no longer permitted within the parade route. (Photo: Nick Duffy)

The email explains that “there is no access inside the parade barriers along the parade route or to the form up area” for media.

Access to photograph the main stage in Trafalgar Square is also restricted.

The decision to restrict press comes after PinkNews carried a live stream at the front of the 2018 parade, as anti-transgender activists attempted to disrupt the event.

‘Grave concerns’ over decision to ban press

Natasha Hirst, Chair of the National Union of Journalists Photographers’ Council, said that “professional news photographers should not be excluded from a public event in this way.”

“This is not a security or health and safety issue, it is a serious attack on press freedom that undermines the ability of journalists to carry out their work. Allowing press photographers access to do their job will not compromise the safety of the parade,” Hirst told PinkNews.

The British Press Photographers Association (BPPA) said: “[We] would like to raise our grave concerns regarding Pride in London’s proposed plans to severely impede media access to this year’s parade.

“A parade which promotes freedom of the individual and freedom of expression should not be restricting the freedom of the press.”

Nicolas Chinardet, a gay freelance photographer who has covered the event for 12 years, told PinkNews: “[This year] I had a commission for my images from a German LGBT publication. This will no longer happen thanks to Pride’s short-sighted and last minute decision.

“To say that I’m disappointed and disgusted is an understatement. This is another step in the ‘corporisation’ of the event; Pride being taken away from the community it is supposed to represent and serve.”

Pride in London will review parade access

On Friday (July 5), a Pride in London spokesperson told PinkNews that access to the parade route would be reviewed following concerns raised by the BPPA.

The spokesperson said: “This year we revised our media accreditation process because of its impact on the speed and security of the parade. Not an easy decision but it is an operational choice based on ensuring 30,000 people can pass through London safely and securely.

“Following a letter from the BPPA we are urgently reviewing our decision to see what possibilities there are and contacting people directly who are impacted.”