Media lock-up

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A media lock-up is a security procedure typically associated with politically sensitive disclosures and press conferences. During a media lock-up, accredited journalists receive advance access to information and expert advisers in order to assist with the accuracy of their reporting on matters disclosed. A media lock-up ends when a timed embargo on the release of information is lifted.


Journalists may be required to sign deed polls or other agreements prior to receiving permission to attend media lock-ups. Mobile phones may be required to be turned off and/or left with a security supervisor upon entry. Laptop, wireless and mobile phone devices must generally be disconnected to prevent any other means of outbound communication until a scheduled embargo is lifted.[1] During a media lock-up, attendees are not permitted to leave the room, and no-one is allowed to approach any internal communications infrastructure.[2][3] In cases where mobile phones are not required to be surrendered, attendees may be subject to escorts when visiting the bathroom.[4]


Institutions to impose media lock-ups include the Reserve Bank of Australia,[2] the Australian Government,[5] the New Zealand Treasury,[4] the United States Department of Labor,[6] the South African Treasury,[7] the Government of Canada[8][9] and the Supreme Court of Canada.[10][11] The Supreme Court of Canada has stated that it uses media lock-ups "to improve the accuracy of media reporting of Supreme Court of Canada decisions and to assist members of the media in reporting on cases that have attracted a high level of public interest."[10]


Lock-ups associated with the Australian budget have been controversial. In 2014, members of several trade unions claimed that they have been refused entry to a stakeholder lock-up.[12] Some journalists consider the Australian budget media lock-up "pointless", noting that contentious matters are typically already known due to prior leaks to the press. In 2013, one unnamed attendee described the budget lock-up as "one way the Government can sell its message... They have a captive audience, quite literally."[13]

A media lock-up held by the Government of Canada in January 2015 prior to the tabling of an anti-terrorism bill was criticized by attendees, who were denied access to the bill ahead of the press conference.[14]

In 2011 author Nicholas Russell wrote that media lock-ups "may do more good than harm" by providing journalists with "thinking time" on complex matters. He also wrote that "It can be argued that the lock-up system leads to wholesale homogenization of the news - everyone gets basically the same story."[15]


  1. ^ "Diary of a media lock-up". News. Retrieved 2016-02-08.
  2. ^ a b "Media lock-up procedures". Reserve Bank of Australia. Reserve Bank of Australia.
  3. ^ "The Budget Lockup |". Retrieved 2016-02-08.
  4. ^ a b "Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update Media Lock-Up — The Treasury - New Zealand". Archived from the original on 2016-02-14. Retrieved 2016-02-08.
  5. ^ "IGR media lock-up invitation | Media | The Hon. Joe Hockey MP". Archived from the original on 2016-08-17. Retrieved 2016-02-08.
  6. ^ "News Media Lock-Up Notices | United States Department of Labor". Retrieved 2016-02-08.
  7. ^ "Treasury on Budget 2015 media lock-up | South African Government". Retrieved 2016-02-08.
  8. ^ Canada, Government of Canada,Finance (2015-04-07). "Canada News Centre - Archived - Media Lock-Up for Economic Action Plan 2015". Retrieved 2016-02-08.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  9. ^ "Media Advisory - CRTC Media Lock-Up - Decision on BCE/Astral's transaction -- OTTAWA-GATINEAU, Oct. 17, 2012". Retrieved 2016-02-08.
  10. ^ a b Canada, Supreme Court of. "Supreme Court of Canada - After the Hearing". Retrieved 2016-02-08.
  11. ^ Canada, Supreme Court of. "Supreme Court of Canada - Resources for Media - Procedure for Lock-ups". Retrieved 2016-02-08.
  12. ^ "Abbott government freezes unions out of budget lock-up". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2016-02-08.
  13. ^ "What happens inside the budget lock-up?". ABC News. Retrieved 2016-02-08.
  14. ^ Nuttall, Jeremy J. (2015-01-31). "Inside the Orwellian Launch of Tories' Anti-Terrorism Act | The Tyee". The Tyee. Retrieved 2016-02-08.
  15. ^ Russell, Nicholas (2011-11-01). Morals and the Media, 2nd edition: Ethics in Canadian Journalism. UBC Press. ISBN 9780774840460.