NUJ welcomes public order convictions following journalist harassment

  • 02 Aug 2022

Sentencing of six people for verbally abusing journalist Nicholas Watt takes place on 30 August. 

The National Union of Journalists has welcomed police action against five men and a woman responsible for intimidating BBC Newsnight journalist Nick Watt in June last year.

A statement by the Metropolitan Police revealed the Met’s Public Order unit has charged individuals following their use of “threatening or abusive words or behaviour with intent to cause harassment, alarm or distress.” The group responsible for hurdling abuse captured on video, formed part of protestors opposing the extension of covid restrictions in England.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said:

“The harassment of Nick was completely unacceptable and convictions against those responsible should send a clear message – that journalists must not be targets because of the work they do and that attacks will not go unpunished.

“The NUJ is taking practical action through its seat on the National Committee for the Safety of Journalists, working alongside government to address attacks against press freedom through online and in-person abuse.”

Detective Constable James Harold, said: 

"A video of this incident prompted a huge amount of online comment and public concern. The behaviour shown by these people was unacceptable. Members of the public, of any profession, have the right to go about their day without being subjected to verbal harassment or actions that put them in fear for their safety."

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