Serving professional journalism since 1912

Magazine of the Chartered Institute of Journalists

Institute condemns taxing fashionistas

News release

Tuesday 11th July 2006 : Release time immediate


The Chartered Institute of Journalists is urging photographers B and editors B to resist paying a ‘picture tax’ after organisers of the London Fashion Week demanded £25 for press passes.

The event’s organisers, have told photographers to ‘send a letter from the commissioning editor/picture editor on company headed paper, a passport photograph and a £25 registration fee payable to British Fashion Council.’

The Institute’s Professional Practices Board has condemned the ‘fashionistas’ move as a ‘dangerous and damaging development that threatens press freedom’ and should be nipped in the bud.

Paul Stewart, the photographic member of the Board, said: “The organisers say this pass will give access to all shows on the official BFC schedule unless stopped by the designer, which is no guarantee of access or facilities.

“Fashion Week is about getting publicity for the designers yet they want to charge us for the privilege of getting them a fortune’s worth of publicity.”

Guilfest is also demanding money by instructing: “To pick up your wristband and press pass you need to register at the Excess Press/Stay Gold Press Point situated at the back of Stage 1. Please print and bring this email with you. As each pass is worth £90 we politely request that you make a donation of £10”

The PPB’s chairman, Robin Morgan, is furious. “This is a very dangerous and damaging development that could threaten the future of press freedom and any self-respecting photographer and his or her editor should resist the attempt to extract cash for covering a news event. Checking bona fides is one thing, but demanding cash is totally out of order. Unfortunately, this money-grabbing, greedy practice is spreading like wild fire and we need to stop it.

“It needs industry-wide action to stop this blackmail – by charging and then having designers choosing who they will and won’t let into their shows is interference in editorial independence and consequently an assault on press freedom.

“We have seen what happened when magazine publishers began to levy ‘colour separation charges’ on PR firms as a fee for using their handouts. This is now so widespread it has become common practice regardless of the item’s news value.

“The Institute will be writing to the organisers of these events asking them to reconsider their position but in the meantime all photographers are urged to resist this insidious development in an effort to safeguard the independence of our profession.”




Press contact: Dominic Cooper, tel. 0207 252 1187, email

Chartered Institute of Journalists (CIoJ), 2 Dock Offices, Surrey Quays Road, London SE16 2XU. Website


Notes for Editors:

Formed in 1884, the Chartered Institute of Journalists (CIoJ) is the world=s oldest established professional body for journalists, and a representative voice of media and communications professionals throughout the UK and the Commonwealth.