Dale Farm footage judicial review application allowed
19 March 2012
A preliminary legal decision has allowed the NUJ to proceed to apply for a judicial review of an earlier court decision, granting a production order forcing journalists, media organisations and broadcasters to submit Dale Farm journalistic footage to the police. The NUJ has welcomed the decision.
The Dale Farm case raises fundamental issues about the ability of the press to report matters of public interest impartially and without fear of intimidation.
The application is on behalf of NUJ member Jason N. Parkinson and the BBC, ITN, BSkyB and Hardcash Productions.
Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said:
"The NUJ welcomes the decision to allow the Judicial Review to proceed.
"The media played a critical public interest role in reporting on Dale Farm and the case will have significant implications for the whole of our industry.
"Journalists are put in danger if footage gathered whilst reporting events is seized and used by the police.
"The NUJ's code of conduct compels the union – and our members - to defend a vital principle, the protection of journalistic sources and material.
"This case is a defence of press freedom - journalists are not evidence gatherers for the police."
Jason Parkinson said:
"I am very pleased we all have been given the chance to challenge the decision on the Dale Farm production order. I believe these production orders are becoming the first response from the police and not the last resort, as they are supposed to be applied. The impact this will have on journalists ability to report independently and impartially will be devastating.
"ACPO claim the rise in production orders is because of increasing unrest since the August riots. That does not explain why the increase has been going on since November 2010. It seems to me now that whenever there is trouble in the streets the first thing the police do is track down the journalists present."