Hounded over a #hashtag
13 September 2013
Ejecting journalists from an event because of a tweet is "beyond satire", the NUJ said after two journalists were held by security and had their press accreditation removed at an arms fair in London.
Jason Parkinson said he and a colleague had been covering the DESI defence and security event at Excel for Ruptly, a European news agency. He said:
"We were held after we had filmed a protestor on a rooftop. An event organiser said it was because some tweets I sent out had the #StopDSEi hashtag. The hashtag is common on tweets around the event and protests. We were kicked out after 30 minutes and our press credentials were withheld."
A spokesperson for DSEI told the Guardian said that, while official media representatives were welcome to apply for accreditation, it retained the right "to grant, reject or revoke" passes at any time, at its discretion.
John Toner, NUJ freelance organiser, said:
"It is unacceptable that journalists should be excluded on the grounds of their opinions.To use a tweet as a pretext for ejection is beyond satire.We hope they will learn from the criticism they have received, and ensure that press freedom is respected at future events."