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New film highlights police clashes with journalists

A video which seeks to show journalists and photographers being obstructed in their work by police has been released by the NUJ.

The nine-minute film, called ‘Press Freedom: Collateral Damage’ has been posted on the National Union of Journalists’ website, and also features general secretary Jeremy Dear’s one-man protest outside New Scotland Yard and interviews with officers.

The film’s release comes in the same week the Trades Union Congress, at its annual conference, backed an NUJ-proposed motion calling for a rethink of government policies which put journalists at risk of imprisonment just for doing their job.

Jeremy Dear said: “Journalism is facing grave threats in an age of intolerance. Whilst on the streets dissent is being criminalized, independent journalism is being increasingly caught in the civil liberties clampdown.”

The NUJ’s motion highlighted cases of journalists, such as Robin Ackroyd and Shiv Malik, who have faced the threat of jail because of legal demands to reveal confidential source information.

In his speech to Congress, Jeremy Dear drew attention to the case of Milton Keynes Citizen reporter Sally Murrer, who is facing criminal prosecution for receiving information from a police source.

Jeremy added: “The terrorising of journalists isn’t just done by shadowy men in balaclavas, but also by governments and organisations who use the apparatus of the law or state authorities to suppress and distort the information they do not want the public to know and to terrorise the journalists involved through injunctions, threats to imprisonment and financial ruin.

“Journalists’ material and their sources are increasingly targeted by those who wish to pull a cloak of secrecy over their actions.”