Journalists & photographers working in the public interest - NUJ guide
24 March 2020
Save lives - stay at home
The NUJ wants staff as well as freelance media workers, including photographers and reporters, to be able to continue to provide the public with timely and accurate information - about events, about the latest health advice, to help promote and coordinate volunteering efforts, to bring the community together and to combat the proliferation of fake news.
The NUJ will continue to make the case that public interest reporting about the coronavirus is essential and how to organise this work should be decided by journalists themselves and media organisations.
Journalists should recognise this is a global public health emergency, where movement can risk lives, and all media workers, especially freelances, should carefully consider their own health and the health of others.
NUJ representatives have participated in discussions with UK government ministers and civil servants about the rights and responsibilities of journalists during the coronavirus crisis.
It is the UK government’s advice that no one should leave their homes unless their work is critical to fighting the virus or maintaining basic and essential services for the public.
UKPCA press cards should remain as the official accreditation and shown as evidence of purpose - journalists and news gatherers should have freedom of movement and be able to travel while they are carrying out essential public interest reporting.
England, Wales and Northern Ireland
The latest government guidance places some journalists and other media workers on the list of occupations that are allowed to leave their homes for work at the moment.
The NUJ understands that this is intended to apply to those journalists who can only undertake their work by leaving home, and whose work is critical to public understanding of the virus.
There is no more clarity at this stage from the government.
At the moment the Scottish government have not yet adopted the same key worker definitions as in England. The NUJ has contacted the Scottish government asking for journalists to be defined as key workers.
Republic of Ireland
There has been no announcement by the Irish authorities to lockdown the Republic and the issue of key worker does not arise.
Requesting NUJ assistance
Should any NUJ members be involved in critical work and have difficulty due to logistical restrictions placed upon them by the authorities then please contact the NUJ.
We will make representations to the relevant public authorities on behalf of any members who are inhibited from work, whose work is clearly in the public interest.
How journalists can deal with trauma while reporting on COVID-19 - when journalists cover crises, tragedies, and disasters, and interview people affected by them, they face a complicated task: to not cause additional harm to the victims, while at the same time taking care of their own mental health. Access the trauma guidance published by the The Global Investigative Journalism Network.