NUJ prepares for production order challenge
Greater Manchester Police have applied for a production order with a hearing on Monday 18 February compelling NUJ member and video journalist Jason N. Parkinson to hand over footage to the police.
The application is for all published and unpublished footage shot between the hours of 10.30am and 12.30pm at the English Defence League (EDL) march and counter protest organised by Unite Against Fascism (UAF) in Bolton on Saturday 20 March 2010.
Mr Parkinson with the full support of the NUJ intends to oppose the production order.
Jason Parkinson said: "I am not willing to hand unpublished material over. Journalists report the news and are not evidence gatherers for the police or anyone else. To do so would endanger the safety of all journalists in similar situations in the future. We would not be regarded as independent and would become greater targets from all sides.
"Also handing over the footage could overturn the incredibly important victory for press freedom we achieved fighting the Dale Farm production order last year."
Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary said: “Jason Parkinson is a front line journalist and should have the right to work in the public interest without fearing he will be forced to hand over his footage. The union will continue to support Jason’s campaign to protect journalistic sources and material.”
Jason was served a production order in 2011 for all footage shot over the two days of the Dale Farm eviction in Essex. Major national broadcasters also opposed the production order. In a united effort, the NUJ led an eight-month battle in partnership with the BBC, ITN, Sky and Hardcash Productions that ended in the Royal Courts of Justice. In May 2012 Judge Moses overturned the original Dale Farm production order in a huge win for press freedom in the UK.