Free PN on international arms trade
PN news release
After applying in July to cover the DSEi 2003 international arms fair being held at London’s Excel centre (9-12 September), Peace News (PN) is disappointed that the organisers – Spearhead Exhibitions Ltd - have refused PN media accreditation to cover this event.
Peace News Ltd is a small, independent international antimilitarist print and online publisher. Established in 1936, Peace News has consistently provided coverage of both grassroots activist campaigns and of mainstream stories, from a critical perspective.
While Peace News is very open about its editorial objectives (see http://www.peacenews.info/info/about/editorial_objectives.html) the editor and news team hoped that by providing online coverage of DSEi – from both inside and outside the exhibition centre - PN could provide fair and accurate reporting of this event and could ask questions at the DSEi 2003 press conference that may have been difficult for mainstream journalists to put forward.
Peace News news editor Caroline Lauer – the applicant for accreditation – is a professional journalist (working in the mainstream media as well as for Peace News) and an NUJ member. She is not a member of any exciting activist organisations and has no criminal record.
However, in an email on 22 August Emma Welch for Spearhead stated that “we have taken the decision to refuse entry to the exhibition to all media that are interested in visiting with other motives in mind”. With Spearhead failing to elaborate on what they mean by “other motives” Peace News can only arrive at the conclusion that the event organsisers were keen to protect their exhibitors from difficult lines of questioning during the press conference – for example into the impact of the arms trade on civilian populations.
Comment from Peace News editor:
“The value of a free and independent press cannot be underestimated. Independent media journalists are in a position to ask the questions which open up areas for discussion by all.
The refusal of Spearhead to accredit Peace News for this event merely adds to the popular view that a group of death dealers want to get on with their secretive deals far away from any critical view. “