OPEC shuts out Western journalists for second time in weeks – media

The cartel of oil-producing countries reportedly disinvited Reuters and Bloomberg journalists from next week’s event

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has canceled invitations to Reuters, Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal to cover its upcoming meeting in Austria, the news organizations reported.

Bloomberg News and Reuters said on Wednesday that their journalists received accreditation for OPEC’s July conference, but were later told that the credentials had been withdrawn.

“We are very concerned by the prospect of OPEC excluding certain journalists, including from Bloomberg, from next week’s seminar,” Bloomberg said in a statement. “For the sake of market transparency, we strongly advocate for OPEC to allow journalists from relevant global news outlets to attend.”

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The Wall Street Journal was similarly disinvited, according to sources cited by Bloomberg and Reuters. OPEC did not explain the reversal and declined requests for comment, the news agencies said.

“We believe that transparency and a free press serve both readers, markets and the public interest, and we object to this restriction on coverage,” a spokesperson for Reuters said, vowing to “continue to cover OPEC in an independent, impartial and reliable way.”

The move marks the second time OPEC has snubbed reporters from the same three news agencies in recent weeks, disinviting them from the Vienna event in June. 

According to Reuters, journalists from the Financial Times, trade publication Argus, and S&P Global Commodity Insights, known as Platts, are among those who have received an invitation to the next week’s event.

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Asked about the decision at the time, OPEC Secretary General Haitham al-Ghais defended the organization’s policy of inviting media outlets on an individual basis. “This is our house and this is the way we decide to conduct our media strategy,” he said.

OPEC members will meet for an international seminar at the Hofburg palace in Vienna on July 5-6, with the head of British Petroleum (BP) and the European Union’s top energy official also expected to attend. The countries are expected to discuss joint actions in the wake of the global energy crisis and the Western sanctions on Russia’s oil exports.

Reuters and Bloomberg said they would cover the event regardless of accreditation, as they did at the June 4 policy meeting.

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