Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Black Media Denied Access to the Olympics?

“After careful consideration by the Media Accreditation Committee, we regret to inform you that your application accreditation for the London 2012 Olympic Games has been unsuccessful,”
read the letter received by The Voice from the British Olympics Association. 

The Voice, Britain's oldest and biggest black newspaper, has been denied accreditation to the Olympic stadium despite the high number of black British athletes competing in the games.
Sports Editor Rodney Hinds says the decision was taken by the board of the British Olympics Association and “to his knowledge there are no black people on that board.” In an interview with The Grio, Hinds says it important for The Voice to get access because the stadium is the main venue for track and field.

The Voice was founded in 1982 by Jamaican-born accountant Val McCalla. Over the past 30 years, it has been an important training ground for minority journalists, where novice writers are given the opportunity to cut their teeth and develop before landing coveted Fleet Street or broadcast journalist jobs. High-profile black British journalists, such as Rageh Omaar and Dotun Adabayo, have all passed through the paper.

There’s no indication at this stage that there’s been a deliberate attempt to exclude the paper explicitly because of the nature of its readership. But having a publication like The Voice kept outside the stadium when members of Team GB come from the very communities it represents is unacceptable.

Activist and poet Zita Holbourne has set up a petition calling on the BOA to reconsider its decision.  Labour MP David Lammy, Jamaica's high commissioner Aloun Assamba and Simon Woolley, chair of Operation Black Vote, have also called for the decision to be reversed.

To sign the online petition, http://www.change.org/petitions/give-the-voice-media-accreditation-for-london-2012-olympics.

"We must acknowledge the value of Black media here in the US and abroad.  It is critical that throughout the African diaspora, we tell our own stories in our own voice our own way."  CGL

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