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NUJ members covering crisis should carry press card

31 March 2020

Police officers have been told to respect journalists as key workers and that there is a public interest in keeping the population informed of the developing crisis.

Following constructive talks between the NUJ and the National Police Chiefs Council, the council has sent guidance to police forces in England, Wales and Northern Ireland on working with journalists during the Covid-19 outbreak. While some media organisations have been producing letters for their staff – including printers and delivery drivers – the UK press card is the appropriate ID for journalists covering the pandemic.

Journalists and photographers will be expected to comply with public health guidelines, for example keeping two metres away from others. Professor Chris Frost, chair of the union’s ethics council, has provided useful advice for members when covering the Covid-19 pandemic in the latest edition of NUJ Informed

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said:

“It is vital that journalists and photographers are free to report during this crisis, and be out on the streets while doing so. We were pleased with the constructive discussions with the head of the National Police Chiefs Council who is supportive and understanding of the right for media workers to do their jobs. With these rights also come responsibilities, and of course we expect our members to behave accordingly. Press freedom must not be compromised during this period.”

You can download a copy of the NPCC guidance on working with journalists during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Tags: , National Police Chiefs Council, coronavirus, covid-19, press card, press freedom