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Olympic firms ask ODA for permission to talk to press

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ENGINEERING FIRMS working on the site of London's Olympic Park are set to demand that 2012 bosses loosen the media stranglehold which prevents them publicising their achievements.

Later this month an ICE representative will meet with the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) to demand that firms working on the publicly financed project are given greater freedom of speech.

'We are missing a real opportunity to showcase engineering as a profession and the good work the UK construction industry can do, ' said one Olympic engineer, who was unwilling to be named for fear of reproach by the ODA.

Written into each Olympic construction contract is a clause that all media enquiries and requests to speak at industry events should be passed back to the ODA press office, consisting of four press officers.

During a forum of key industry employers at One Great George Street in February, Olympic fims that included Atkins, Arup, Halcrow and Nuttall, told ICE vice president Jean Venables that this channel of communication was so narrow that they were prevented from even making statements on the fact they had won a contract.

In addition, draconian copyright laws that allow only official sponsors to use phrases such as 'London 2012' and 'London Olympics' prevent fims advertising that they are working on the project, even when recruiting Olympic teams.

'We have to respect the sponsorship deals, but [the ODA] has overreacted and clamped down unneccessarily in my view, ' said another engineer. 'What's the harm in talking about what is being designed and built?' he said.

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