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Union to report attacks on journalists covering Euros to UEFA inquiry

Michelle Stanistreet 1The National Union of Journalists is to report a series of attacks on journalists during the European football championships to an inquiry by the event’s governing body UEFA.

European football chiefs are looking into the events around Wembley Stadium before and after England’s final against Italy on Sunday as well as other incidents of fan behaviour during the tournament.

The NUJ is submitting a dossier of incidents involving journalists to the inquiry and also raising them with the police.

General secretary Michelle Stanistreet, pictured, described the level of abuse experienced by NUJ members reporting on matches as “shocking.”

One videographer who reported being threatened by a knife from an England supporter said: “The amount of racism I witnessed was equal to any far right protest I have ever covered in my 16-year career as a video journalist, not just against black English players, but also against Scottish, German and Italian fans.

“Often the opposing fans were chased off by England fans under the threat of violence if they stayed. I personally faced nothing but welcome from the opposing fans, not one case of abuse or threat.”

Other incidents which have been reported to the union included a news agency photographer who “spent the day being threatened by England fans in London before having a full can of cider thrown at him, missing by 10 centimetres.

And another videographer says he was pushed and his camera grabbed several times by a group of youths in Leicester Square who threatened to beat him up unless he stoppped filming.

Said Michelle: “The level of abuse and violence our members have experienced while reporting on matches and fans viewing the games is shocking.

“Our members have told us about having missiles thrown at them, threats of violence and insults while lawfully doing their jobs. They have also witnessed disgusting racist behaviour from the so-called fans.

“This falls into a pattern of increasing intimidation and violence against the press on the streets of the UK. Such behaviour has been exhibited during recent anti-lockdown protests.

“The union’s concern is that the police have not always come to the aid of journalists and videographers who are being attacked. We will reporting these incidents to the UEFA inquiry and raising them with the police.”