A freelance journalist has vowed to fight a police order compelling him to hand over footage of a protest.
The National Union of Journalists claims that Greater Manchester Police has applied for a production order compelling video journalist Jason Parkinson to hand over footage of an English Defence League march and counter protest by Unite Against Fascism in Bolton on 20 March 2010.
Jason has been backed by the NUJ in opposing the production order, which asks for all published and unpublished footage shot between 10.30am and 12.30pm on the day, and a hearing will be held on 18 February.
The journalist previously won success in opposing a similar order relating to footage shot at the Dale Farm eviction in Essex, which was overturned last May after an eight-month campaign.
Jason said: “I am not willing to hand unpublished material over. Journalists report the news and are not evidence gatherers for the police or anyone else.
“To do so would endanger the safety of all journalists in similar situations in the future. We would not be regarded as independent and would become greater targets from all sides.
“Also handing over the footage could overturn the incredibly important victory for press freedom we achieved fighting the Dale Farm production order last year.”
NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet added: “Jason Parkinson is a front line journalist and should have the right to work in the public interest without fearing he will be forced to hand over his footage.
“The union will continue to support Jason’s campaign to protect journalistic sources and material.”
Jason was served a production order in 2011 for all footage shot over the two days of the Dale Farm eviction in Essex.
A number of major national broadcasters joined the NUJ’s fight against it, including the BBC, ITN and Sky, leading to the original production order being overturned in the Royal Courts of Justice last May.
Greater Manchester Police had not responded to requests for a comment at the time of publication.