Hundreds have signed a petition to get Britian’s number one black newspaper, The Voice, to the Games after they were officially denied access to the stadium.
The British Olympic Association (BOA) rejected the newspaper’s application for media accreditation which would allow them to enter the venue to report on high-profile black athletes like Usain Bolt and Adam Gemili.
This means the Voice, who are based in Docklands in East London, will be just minutes from all the Olympic action but will be watching it on TV screens instead of in the stadium.
The BOA broke the news to the paper like this:
The extraordinary interest and demand from UK media saw the British Olympic Association receive more than 3,000 requests for the approximately 400 accreditations available.
After careful consideration by the Media Accreditation Committee, we regret to inform you that your application for accreditation for the London 2012 Olympic Games has been unsuccessful.
Should we be in the fortunate position to receive additional accreditations from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as the Games near or if any granted accreditations are returned, we will reallocate them to applicants on our waiting list. You will automatically be put on this list.
Zita Holbourne, who started the petition, deemed the decision “insulting and racist”. She said:
Given the number of black athletes that are competing in the Olympics that Team GB rely on for Olympic success, no accreditation for the biggest-selling black newspaper is just atrocious.
In reaction to the bad news, George Ruddock, who is editor and managing director of The Voice, called it “a slap in the face” and told radio station LBC 97.3 that the decision was ironic considering the Games was won on the basis of London’s diversity.
Simon Woolley, chief executive of Operation Black Vote, said:
I think it’s shocking. I’m absolutely gobsmacked. The Voice is the preeminent black newspaper in this country and given that the success of winning the games was predicated on diversity, it is shameful that the games authorities would seek to overlook it.
The authorities are prepared to use black Britons to win the games but we’re not allowed to play a central role in the games, neither in the management or, clearly, the reporting.
I hope that the games authorities will rethink their position. Without the Voice there, there is no black British perspective on the games. The Mirror, the Sun and the Guardian will not report the same story.
What do you think? Does the Voice deserve a place at the Games to report? Do you think it’s fair that they’ll only be reporting on black athletes? Comment below!