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Union calls for end to police surveillance of journalists

General secretary of the National Union of Journalists Jeremy Dear has called on the Home Secretary to end police surveillance of journalists at demonstrations in London.

In a letter to Jacqui Smith MP, he said the union had serious concerns about the Metropolitan Police’s Forward Intelligence Team which he said monitored and recorded journalists and photographers’ activities.

He said: “I have met with a number of those journalists, mainly photographers, who have been the victims of this intimidatory policing.

“Despite repeated requests, there has been no legitimate reason given why police photographers should be photographically cataloguing journalists going about their lawful business.

“The routine and deliberate targeting of photographers and journalists undermines media freedom.

“The rights of photographers to work free from threat, harassment and intimidation must be upheld.”

Jeremy’s letter also calls on the Home Secretary to:

  • provide information on whether FIT members are given instructions to photograph and catalogue journalists
  • show guidelines issued to FIT members about their duties/role
  • explain why information is gained about journalists by FIT
  • give detail on who has access to information being held on police databases about journalists
  • In March, Jeremy staged a one-man protest outside New Scotland Yard to highlight the media freedoms of photographers covering public events.