Solidarity to Northern Ireland Broadcasters Fighting Production Order

3rd November, 2012

The following motion was passed unanimously by the London Photographers’ Branch on Tuesday 30 October 2012.

“The London Photographers’ Branch (LPB) wishes to send a message of solidarity to broadcasters in Northern Ireland who are fighting a court order seeking all footage over violent clashes in North Belfast this summer.

The BBC, Ulster TV, Sky News and the Press Association have joined forces in resisting the application that seeks all unbroadcast material and photographs taken during the 12 July disorder in the Ardoyne area.

LPB knows all too well the damage that is inflicted on a free press forced to become the eyes and ears of the police. Forcing the media to be police intelligence only leads to increased attacks on frontline journalists trying to accurately report all sides of conflict.

LPB condemns this wide-ranging trawl for intelligence and commends the actions of those broadcasters standing up to oppose this attack on a free and independent press.”

Proposed by Jason N. Parkinson Seconded by Jess Hurd

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2 Responses:

  1. Bob Miller says:

    Judge rules against photo-journalists and order them to hand over material
    from alan erwin, laganside media – 07971 611459. catch riot footage. 5/12/12
    Press photographers must hand over to police all material from their coverage of a riot in Belfast this summer, a judge ruled today. But three broadcasters will not have to produce footage of the Twelfth of July disorder in Ardoyne from crews who kept behind PSNI lines. The BBC, UTV and Sky News are instead limited to disclosing any relevant material taken before serious trouble erupted on the day. Police sought an order for the production of unbroadcast moving and still images captured by news organisations in a bid to assist their investigation into the disturbances. Rioting broke out following a contentious Orange Order parade and counter-demonstration by nationalist residents. Twenty PSNI officers were injured and 17 shots were fired at police lines. Up to 90 people were involved in the trouble. A detective sergeant in charge of the evidence gathering operation told Belfast Recorders’ Court that more than 30 suspects have so far been arrested. Film of the gunman was obtained from YouTube and aerially from a police helicopter. It shows him emerging from the crowd, opening fire and then running back. He has not been identified. The detective claimed unused material may hold evidential value, even though it was not regarded as newsworthy. The BBC, UTV, Sky News and the Press Association joined forces in resisting the application. Judge David McFarland, the Recorder for Belfast, had to balance the public interest of identifying and prosecuting rioters against the potential risk to journalists if seen to be assisting in the police investigation. He stated: “There is no evidence to support the proposition that journalists may become the targets of attack should they be perceived to be evidence gathering for the police.” Judge McFarland accepted that no BBC, UTV or Sky journalists were in front of police lines during the rioting. Due to the obstacles of officers, equipment and vehicles being in front of them, he was not satisfied that those images would be of substantial value to the police probe. However, the judge ruled that photo-journalists were in a different position. “During this period some were in front of police lines, and they would have had unobstructed views and images,” he said. “In the circumstances I am of the view that this material could have a substantial value to the investigation.” He also held that material taken earlier in the day, before police were deployed in formation and trouble had broken out, was of worth. That period could include coverage of a counter-demonstration by nationalists in the area. Judge McFarland ordered all material held by the Press Association and two photo agencies, Press Eye and Photopress, must be disclosed. He imposed an exemption on the BBC, UTV and Sky News for footage taken from behind police lines. Michael Cairns, BBC Northern Ireland’s Editor of News Gathering, said the judgment recognised that the PSNI itself has an efficient camera operation for compiling evidence. Mr Cairns added: “It has always been our case in the media that we are there to reflect events and not to act as evidence gatherers.” ends
    MMMM
    ^MNEWS
    NEWSLINK 9251377W001.001 5DEC12 16:05/16:05 GMT
    FROM: Laganside Media Limited
    TO: 19050006

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    Solidarity to Northern Ireland Broadcasters Fighting Production Order | London Photographers’ Branch…