At this year’s Bilderberg conference, for the first time, there will be a Press Office – hosted by the Bilderberg Welcoming Committee – located on the hotel grounds. The aim of the Press Office will be to facilitate the mainstream and alternative media in their coverage of the meeting.
The Press Office will be located in a larger Reception Zone, within the grounds of The Grove Hotel (near the hotel gates). It will provide journalists, photographers, bloggers and researchers with information on this year’s conference, and details about the delegates: including an ID service for delegate photographs.
Besides the Press Office, the Reception Zone will feature a place for speakers, lavatories, and a view of the hotel drive for photographers. Electricity will be available at the Press Office for recharging cameras and phones.
There will be liaison officers from the Hertfordshire Constabulary present in the Reception Zone for the duration of the conference.
The Bilderberg Welcoming Committee is a loose association of pro-transparency campaigners, journalists and organizations, who will be hosting the Press Office.
This is the first officially sanctioned Press Office for the Bilderberg conference, and is a considerable step forward in the relations between the conference and the press.
The Bilderberg Group is famously shy of press attention. An article in the Daily Express, February 12, 1957 (a few years after the first official conference) shows how a veil of “secrecy and security” was drawn over the event:
But this attitude is finally changing, as the Chancellor George Osborne (Bilderberg attendee 2005-9, 2011) said, shortly after taking office: “We have already begun to implement the most radical transparency agenda the country has ever seen” (speech, June 8, 2010).
This sentiment was echoed, a year later, by David Cameron himself, in Prime Minister’s Questions (July 13, 2011):
“the relationship between politicians and the media must change and we must be more transparent, too, about meetings, particularly with executives, editors, proprietors and the rest of it.”
The Press Office and Reception Zone at the 2013 Bilderberg conference is a welcome part of this shift towards transparency.