For many years increasing evidence has pointed to police intelligence units’ interest in journalists whose work led them into contact with political and environmental protestors. For this month’s branch discussion, five of the six NUJ members who fought to reveal that they were listed as “domestic extremists” on a secret police database will be coming in to talk about their experiences.
David Hoffman writes: “Around the turn of the century the attention being paid to me and to my colleagues by police attached to the National Public Order Intelligence Unit became increasingly obvious. The Forward Intelligence Teams made it obvious that we were being targeted. They followed us around, filmed us close up while staring hard at us and did their best to intimidate us. Recordings of their comms made it clear that they saw us as ‘The Enemy’. Gathering intelligence would be done more subtly. This was designed to scare us off and to prevent us producing the reportage that we were getting published. Although this was flattering it was an anti-democratic abuse of police processes. As journalists we had to oppose it. Our current group legal action is one aspect of that opposition.”
NUJ Freelance member Adrian Arbib and NUJ LPB members David Hoffman, Jules Mattsson, Jess Hurd and Jason N. Parkinson will talk about what led to the exposing of their files, and the implications this spying has on press freedom in the UK and abroad.