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Belfast judge rules journalists should hand over material

5 August 2011

A Belfast judge has ruled that news organisations must hand over unbroadcast and unedited material to the PSNI. The National Union of Journalists has expressed grave disappointment at the ruling.

This week's order to provide the coverage of riots in West Belfast on 11, 12 and 13 July was opposed by media organisations at Belfast County Court.

Seamus Dooley, NUJ Irish Secretary, said the order by Judge Piers Grant was a major disappointment.

"We support the media organisations in their view that this was a fishing expedition on the part of the PSNI. Broadcast material was freely available and it is unlikely that the material will be of any substantive value compared to the risks which are inherent in the order for photographers.
"In covering riot situations, photographers should not be seen as agents of the State or the police authorities."

Tags: , belfast, photographers, psni, production order, broadcasting, civil unrest, press freedom