Archive for October, 2010

Free Workshop: ‘Make Impact’

15th October, 2010

Members may be interested in this free workshop organised by the Federation of Entertainment Unions next week:

Free London Workshop: ‘Make Impact’
Improve your marketing and promotional skills

Book quickly as places are limited and it’s first come, first served. Saturday November 20th
We are offering our members a unique opportunity to attend a free workshop aimed at helping you gain the key marketing and promotional skills and tools needed to gain new work and secure long-term contracts in our highly competitive creative industries (see attachment for workshop programme).

It’s Flexible
We know that freelance work means that it’s not always possible to take time off to attend a whole day of training, so we’re offering you the flexibility of attending the morning or afternoon sessions or the entire day if you wish.

Don’t Miss Out
This is a rare opportunity to gain the skills development you need free from industry professionals who know what it’s like in practice. We are working hard with few resources to help support your career so we hope you will make the most of this opportunity.

For Info And Booking
Please see workshop programme and booking form attached.

We Ask Your Consideration
Short-term notice of work and sickness aside, please do not book a place if you are not sure you can attend. We try to help as many members as possible and if you don’t turn up because ‘It’s sunny’ or ‘The football is on’ etc, another member who needs this training will miss out and we will waste valuable resources.

An FEU Training Initiative
The workshop, along with many other training courses and learning opportunities, is brought to you by the National Union of Journalists, BECTU, Equity and the Musicians’ Union working together under the banner of the Federation of Entertainment Unions. To register on our website, go to

Workshop Programme (PDF)
Booking Form (Doc)

October Branch Newsletter

12th October, 2010

Will Street Photography still be around in five years time?

Tuesday 26th October, 6pm at Headland House.

At this month’s branch meeting we will have an expert panel talking about whether the ConDem government will defend photographer rights over the next five years. Speakers will talk about the subject from their area of expertise before the discussion is opened to the floor.

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Police officers cannot be above the law

11th October, 2010

Today’s Guardian reports that Sir Paul Stephenson, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, has “privately lobbied the home secretary to make it harder for people to take legal action against his force.”

Since 2006 I have sued the Metropolitan Police twice and it’s not been an easy process. It is time consuming, expensive and at times exhausting. In 2006 I was assaulted by Metropolitan Police officers when I was reporting on a protest in Parliament Square. I was taken to St Thomas’ hospital by ambulance and could not work for month. When the case settled two years later in 2008 my solicitor, Chez Cotton said:

This was an extremely unpleasant incident. Neither the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police or his officers has any legal power, moral responsibility or political responsibility to prevent or restrict what the media record. Mr Vallée is a well-respected photojournalist, lawfully present to photograph a political protest outside parliament, yet he was brutally prevented from doing so by the police. It is right that Mr Vallée has received an apology, an out of court settlement and that his legal costs will be met by the police.

In late 2008 video journalist Jason Parkinson and I were unlawfully stopped by Metropolitan Police officers from reporting on a protest outside the Greek Embassy. This case settled early this year and our solicitor, Chez Cotton once again, said:

The media play a critical role in recording civil unrest, political events, including protests and demonstrations and, where it arises, police wrong doing. It is of grave concern that an armed, diplomatic officer of the Metropolitan Police Force felt it was appropriate to call these journalists ‘scum’ and stop them from working and was happy to do so in full knowledge that he was being filmed. My clients were physically prevented from reporting on protest and political unrest of international importance.

These are just two of the many cases that journalists – with support from the NUJ – have taken on to defend media freedom. For many the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) route is a non-starter. Many photographers have found the IPCC to be far from independent and highly bureaucratic.

Bottom line, when the police act outside the law and attack human rights and media freedoms by physically attacking media workers then the police should be held to account for such actions. It seems that Sir Paul Stephenson has other ideas.

Is this about cost-cutting in the short term or is it a more calculated strategy to give his officers a freer hand when policing the public reaction to the political and economic shockwaves of the coalition governments austerity measures. And to remove those that will give that movement the oxygen of publicity?

Marc Vallée is a freelance photojournalist and the branch’s Legal Rep.

Outrage at Police plan to issue their own press card

8th October, 2010

Leicestershire Police today revealed they will be issuing their own press card/badges for the English Defence League (EDL) protest tomorrow, Saturday 9 October 2010.

A police press office representative said the badges would be issued at a press briefing 10am tomorrow in Leicester, “in order to prove who is a legitimate journalist to the police officers on the ground”.

I contested that this is what the UK Press Card already represents. The press officer said the measure was being put in place for the safety of journalists after photographs and threats had appeared on the EDL forums and on the Casuals United blog.

NUJ London Photographers Branch Chair Jess Hurd said:

The press card that Leicestershire police is proposing to issue is unprecedented in public order policing. The UK press card authority issue press cards via professional bodies known as gatekeepers to bona fide news gatherers and is recognised by The Association of Chief Police Officers of England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Nowhere does this exclude Leicestershire. This is not about journalists safety, it is about control of the media and is simply not acceptable. Press freedom will not be curtailed at the behest of the EDL.

We are waiting for a response from the chief press liaison officer who will be in charge of police/press relations at the event.
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Photographers unite to defend Press Freedom

6th October, 2010
Labour Party press office stickers that were issued to TV but withdrawn from photographers after the threat of a walkout. The Labour Party had wanted to select which photographers were allowed on the floor for Ed Miliband's Leaders speech. Labour Party Conference. Manchester. Image © 2010

Labour Party press office stickers that were issued to TV but withdrawn from photographers after the threat of a walkout. The Labour Party had wanted to select which photographers were allowed on the floor for Ed Miliband's Leaders speech. Labour Party Conference. Manchester. Image © 2010

Congratulations to the photographers who stood their ground against Tate Britain’s new contract, which effectively banned ‘bad’ coverage of the gallery.

This is a real victory for press freedom and follows the backing down of the Labour Party Conference press office last week. Photographers, already accredited for the event refused to allow the Labour Party to select which individuals and agencies would be allowed to photograph the Leaders speech, and threatened to walk out.

Photographers are fed up of being pushed around, all we ask for is the ability to do our jobs without negative interference from press officers, police officers or security guards.

Reporting from the Deepwater Disaster

5th October, 2010

Last week video journalist and branch committee member Jason Parkinson spoke to the branch about his trip to the Gulf of Mexico to document the environmental disaster following the leak from the Deepwater Horizon oil well. He showed a draft version of the film he has been putting together and also some of the manipulated images that BP published showing their operations after the leak.

Jason also talked about how he had already sold video clips from the story and how he was making a longer film to pitch to media organisations.

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Who’s afraid of photographers?

4th October, 2010

Who’s afraid of photographers? That will be the question under discussion at a seminar organised by the NUJ at the House of Commons on Thursday, 28th October.

The persistent problem of police hindrance of photographers will be examined, as will the wider issue of encroaching privacy law. Working photographers and specialist solicitors will speak and there will be ample opportunity for questions from the floor. The event is being organised by the NUJ’s Freelance Office with the support of Don Foster, MP.

Freelance Organiser, John Toner said:

In recent years society has become increasingly suspicious of anyone holding a camera.

A series of rulings on privacy has made life more difficult for photographers and encounters with irate members of the public are on the increase.

We have recorded many instances of police officers who believe they can dictate what is or is not filmed and several cases of officers who believe they have a right to seize cameras on a whim.

We want to discuss how these various issues can be combatted.

Places will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis, and anyone interested should contact John Toner.