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Police reminded to respect the role of journalists as key workers

6 November 2020

Following hostility towards reporters and photographers at last night’s anti-lockdown protests in London, the NUJ has sought and received assurances from the Metropolitan Police and National Police Chiefs Council that all officers will be reminded of the vital role of newsgatherers, and the need to ensure that journalists can carry out their work freely and without interference.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said:

"It is alarming that numerous journalists covering the protest were told by officers that if they hadn’t received permission from the Met press office that they had no business to be reporting, and would be treated as members of the public taking part in an illegal gathering. This is patently untrue.

"In discussions with the Met today, officers have assured the NUJ of their full commitment to the guidelines issued by the National Police Chiefs Council after the NUJ’s intervention earlier this year, and their agreement that bona-fide newsgatherers must be treated appropriately and allowed to do their work unimpeded."

David Ayrton, NUJ Organiser, added:

"The NPCC have agreed to widely recirculate these guidelines to all forces and officers and to highlight their importance in daily briefings. We hope this will serve as a timely reminder to all police officers of the vital importance of press freedom at this time."

All NUJ members are encouraged to carry a copy of the NPCC guidance along with their NUJ UK press card. Any member experiencing difficulties in the course of their work should make contact with the union.

Tags: , police, lockdown, covid-19, coronavirus