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Beware of ‘hostile’ public while covering new lockdown, photojournalists warned

Union chiefs have warned photojournalists to beware of “hostile members of the public” during the national lockdown in England.

The National Union of Journalists has issued fresh advice to photographers after new restrictions were introduced due to the coronavirus crisis.

During the first lockdown, the National Police Chiefs Council has sent guidance to police forces in England, Wales and Northern Ireland on working with journalists during the coronavirus outbreak, which explained that media workers are covered as key workers.

But the British Press Photographers’ Association reported its members had been physically assaulted, trolled on social media and received threats of death and violence while covering the pandemic.


The NUJ has urged its members to carry a copy and also check that their press cards are up to date following the introduction of the new measures.

Natasha Hirst, chair of the union’s photographers’ council, said: “Members must risk assess their environment and take appropriate precautions to protect themselves and others when working.

“Make sure you carry your NPCC protocol and press card.

“Also be aware that members have had to deal with hostile members of the public when, for example, taking pictures of people who are not social distancing.

“Members should contact the union if they have faced any difficulties or obstruction when trying to work, even if they do not wish to raise a formal complaint.”

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