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Advice to NUJ members reporting on civil unrest around UK

9 August 2011

NUJ members working tonight covering the current civil unrest within the UK need to plan accordingly and take appropriate precautions - there may be a range of people hostile to journalists.

There have already been instances of journalists attacked: London riots: Sky, ITN and CNN reporters attacked (The Guardian, 9 August 2011). 

Should the civil unrest continue it is likely that similar behaviour will be repeated if participants are being filmed or photographed and journalists may also be injured as a result of the violence aimed at the police and/or their proximity to premises being attacked.

Carry a copy of the NUJ's and Thompson solicitors emergency phone numbers in case you need help:

Thompsons operate a 24-hour EMERGENCY number for work-related criminal matters 0800 587 7530

Here are some tips and advice –

  • Always carry your press card in an accessible place and use it to identify yourself.
  • Always carry a map so you can check alternative routes and exit points.
  • Leave yourself time to drive the route to check for places for good pictures, trouble spots, level of policing, exit routes.
  • If you are parking a car, think carefully where you leave it, as you might need to get out in a hurry.
  • If you park too close to the unrest your car could get damaged or blocked if there is trouble.
  • If you are a freelance on commission, are you insured by the media organisation?
  • Wear strong boots or shoes and strong, tight-fitting clothing which allows you to move about freely.
  • Shin guards, kneepads, body armour, helmet - all or some may be worth thinking about.
  • Always remember the weather and dress accordingly.
  • Carry the minimum amount of equipment so you can move quickly if need be.
  • Have enough film or electronic memory.
  • Let someone know that you are covering the unrest and tell them what time you are leaving and at what time to expect you back.
  • At all times you should be distinct from the protesters and the police.
  • Always work in such a way that if something happens you can extract yourself.
  • Keep an eye on fellow journalists in case they need help.  

Tags: , press freedom, safety, violence, civil unrest