Press credentials to the IMF/World Bank meetings in Washington, D.C. on April 16 and 17 have been denied to journalists working for community radio and television stations. The denial of credentials has come directly from the IMF Press Office, which has sent the following message to some of those reporters:
"We do not provide press accreditation to public access TV, community radio, nor student or academic publications to attend our meetings."
No explanation of the policy has been provided by the IMF. Nor does it seem a coherent policy; when one applicant pointed out that the television station he works for is a government access station (not public access, a meaningful distinction), he received a one-word reply from the IMF's William Murray: "Sorry."
The wide-ranging importance of the World Bank/IMF proceedings underscores the need to allow access to media outlets of all shape and size. Community radio and other alternative news outlets provided a much different picture of the World Trade Organization meeting in Seattle than did corporate-owned and -sponsored media-- the kind that are favored by current IMF policy.
Community media, in particular community radio, are essential to developing nations around the world, where they are sometimes a primary means of communicating news and information. It is disturbing that IMF meetings that will determine the very future of such nations would be "off-limits" to some of their most important media outlets.
ACTION: Contact the IMF Press Office to express your thoughts on their selective distribution of press credentials to the meetings in Washington, D.C.
CONTACT:IMF Press OfficeFax: (202) firstname.lastname@example.org
For more background, please read Jason Vest's "IMF, World Bank Bar Independent Journalists From Events" at: www.speakout.com/ThePulse/101280