Journalists asked to give evidence of threats to their safety
The UK government is inviting journalists to give evidence to the National Committee for the Safety of Journalists so it can put in place measures to make sure they can operate free from threats and violence.
The NUJ is a member of the committee, set up in 2020, which brings together senior representatives of government, journalism, policing, prosecution services and civil society. It published an action plan and the evidence gathered by the government will add to the measures contained in the plan.
The evidence will be collected from Wednesday 2 June to 11:45pm on Wednesday 14 July. The government's response will be published in early 2022.
An NUJ survey of members, published in November 2020, found that more than half of respondents had experienced online abuse, while nearly a quarter had been physically assaulted or attacked. Members reported being physically assaulted, threatened with knifes, forcibly detained, kicked and spat at. They received online and offline death threats, rape threats and other threats to physically harm them, their families and their homes.
Séamus Dooley, NUJ assistant general secretary, said:
"The safety of journalists is a key priority for the NUJ and was the strong focus of Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, in her report to the recent online delegate meeting.
"This is a welcome opportunity, and I encourage members to take part in the survey, so that the government is informed by what working journalists have experienced. It is vital that UK journalists are free to work without fear or intimidation. Concrete measures are essential to protect journalists at a time when the public requires verified, reliable information.
"I would especially encourage women who have encountered threats and harassment to come forward."
John Whittingdale, media and data minister, said:
"Every time a journalist is abused, either online or offline, it is an attack not just on the individual but also on our society, which needs reliable and fact-based reporting more than ever. We want to hear from any member of the media who has ever felt unsafe doing their job so we can give those who play such a vital role in democracy the respect and protection they deserve."