The National Union of Journalists has been assured that there will be no press freedom issues during the Olympics with security guards, police or the military. This know-your-rights guide is designed to help if things go wrong. Download pdf version
The NUJ and other media organisations have won the judicial review at the Court of Appeal following the decision by Chelmsford Crown Court to grant the Dale Farm footage production order. The decision to force journalists to hand over unbroadcast footage has been overturned.
Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary said: “Today is a huge victory for the cause of press freedom and the protection of sources and journalistic material. We are incredibly pleased that the NUJ and other media organisations have won the High Court battle against the police production order to force journalists to hand over their Dale Farm eviction footage.”
Jason Parkinson, who challenged the order said: “This ruling to overturn the Crown Court’s decision to grant the Dale Farm production order sends a very clear message to all police forces that these wide-ranging fishing trips will not be accepted by the UK courts and that we will not be forced into to role of unwilling agents of the state. We are not there as evidence gatherers to fill police intelligence databases with hours of material on activists or protestors, we are journalists and we are there to report the news and keep the public informed.
In the last 18 months, every time one of these orders has been served it has put journalists in greater danger while trying to report on public order situations. I know this because I have been threatened and assaulted by people claiming my material will be used by the police. I am very happy to see Judge Moses has recognised the impact these orders have on the safety and impartiality of all journalists and has made sure any future production order applications must take this into account, as was clearly not the case this time round.”
This victory would not have been possible without the support of the NUJ legal team and campaign department. Special thanks to our General Secretary Michelle Stanistreet for her support, Roy Mincoff from the NUJ legal department, Sarah Kavanagh and Frances Rafferty from the NUJ campaign department, Martin Rackstraw from Bindmans Solicitors, Gavin Millar QC and all our campaign supporters.
We should not underestimate the significant stress and energy that go in to challenging such production orders, especially for freelancers, whose reputation and safety is on the line. It is extremely important that the High Court has acknowledged and reinforced the independent role of frontline journalists and their safety in gathering the news for future public order situations.
Meeting with NUJ, EPUK & G4S re photography at the Olympic Park
John Toner (NUJ), David Hoffman (EPUK), Adam Mynott (G4S)
Headland House May 10, 2012
Following the incident on 21 April 2012 where two G4S security staff assaulted me and other photographers working on public land outside the Olympic Park John Toner, NUJ Freelance Organiser arranged a meeting with Adam Mynott, G4S Director of Media Relations and me, David Hoffman, wearing my (white) EPUK Moderator hat.
The meeting started on a positive note with Mynott apologising for the actions of the guards who he described as having “behaved wrongly” and having “acted incorrectly”. We were particularly concerned by two comments that the guards’ supervisor made. She had said:
“We are told we should refrain people from taking photos” and “It his job to basically approach people and deter them from taking photographs of the secure area.”
Mynott told us that this was not how G4S trained their guards and, specifically, that “photography was not to be discouraged in any way at all” and it was NOT their job to approach and deter photographers He was quite clear that there should be no interference at all to photographers working on public land and that the guards had been reminded of this following the April incident.
Adam Mynott told us that they were recruiting 10,000 staff for the Olympics and that there was a structured training programme. No member of staff would have less than 4 days training and some would have up to 14 days. All their training was to SIA approved standards and the security guards were SIA accredited. We were assured that the training was running well, was on schedule and not being rushed.
Mynott told us that he was aware of the National Press Card and that his staff were trained on it and on how to recognise a UKPCA card. John Toner gave him some UKPCA posters to help in training.
We asked about the presence of guards on public land. Mynott assured us that the security guards should only operate within the Olympic Park border, that they should not have left the Olympic Park in the April incident and that they would be reminded of this.
I mentioned that Jason Parkinson had twice been stopped recently on the public road outside the Olympic Park by security guards in an SUV. Mynott could not adequately explain that and we will be following this up as it directly contradicts the assurances we had been given.
We asked if G4S could provide a map showing what land was public and what was the Olympic Park. He will try to arrange that.
We were particularly keen to have a 24/7 hotline direct to G4S senior management as a way of resolving problems, rather than having to resort to the police. Adam Mynott suggested we use his mobile number (this will be available on the members’ area of this site).
It was a friendly and constructive meeting and we got the impression that G4S do genuinely understand the issues and want to avoid making difficulties for us. Whether they are capable of training their 10,000 staff to a standard sufficient to achieve that is yet to be seen.
The May meeting of the London Photographers’ Branch will be Olympic Concerns: Preparing Photographers for London 2012, a discussion and debate with Bindmans Lawyer Chez Cotton.
Last week at an NUJ organised meeting with senior police several experienced photographers (I was one) asked Assistant Commissioner Chris Allison (in charge of Olympic policing) & Cdr Bob Broadhurst about the private security guards’ training and instructions. We said that on the past record of private security guards we could expect unlawful and oppressive interference.
Allison assured us that the security would ONLY be acting inside the site and that we’d have no problems on public land outside. He may have believed that. We didn’t and thought that we should check out the accuracy of his promises. There were other issues (such as closures of public rights of way) that also seemed worth coverage.
Before we’d got half way round the site – all on public land – G4S security had run out from the site, shouting at me and grabbing the camera of a colleague (Jess Hurd), pushing her back and preventing her from taking photos. A second guard also appeared and assaulted a video journalist colleague, Jason Parkinson, grabbing his camera and pushing him around.
Their manager appeared after a minute or two. She defended their behaviour and told us that they were trained to deter people from taking photographs. We asked for police to attend and two SO23 officers soon arrived, confirmed that our behaviour was entirely lawful and the G4S guards retreated back into the Olympic site.
The guards are very poorly trained by G4s, on rotten terms of temporary employment and receiving the minimum wage. The blame should be on G4S and LOCOG whose penny pinching attitude and contempt for the media is already causing us problems and is certain to cause us a great deal more unless we take a stand.
© David Hoffman
David Hoffman images here
Jess Hurd images here
On Wednesday 25 April 2012 freelance journalists and broadcasters will enter the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand in London, to fight for Judicial Review on the Dale Farm Production Order.
The National Union of Journalists has called the “Not FIT” protest at 9.15am outside the court, to defend journalism and to send a clear message the police – we will not be forced through production orders into being evidence gatherers for the police. ”Not FIT” refers to police evidence gather units known as Forward Intelligence Teams (FIT).
All those involved in the Dale Farm production order case have shown great concern at the increase in the use of production orders against the media over the last 18 months and the fear is journalists are being forced into becoming the eyes and ears of the state. The consequences of this can have serious implications towards the impartiality and safety of journalists in the future.
Please come and show your support in the latest battle for press freedom, to tell the police and the state, we are “Not FIT”.
The protest will be held at 9.15am, Wednesday 25 April 2012.
The Defending Journalism Parliamentary Meeting will be on Thursday 19 April 2012.
In the build up to the Dale Farm Production Order Judicial Review the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has organised an event in parliament to discuss the protection of sources and journalistic material.
The event is being hosted by Austin Mitchell MP in the House of Commons on Thursday 19 April starting 6.30pm.
Under discussion will be the News International Management and Standards Committee, the increased use of Production Orders and the legislative landscape.
Speakers confirmed so far include:
John Battle – ITN Head of Compliance
Gavin Millar QC – Doughty Street Chambers
Michelle Stanistreet – NUJ general secretary
Jason Parkinson – NUJ freelance video journalist facing Dale Farm production order
More speakers to be confirmed.
The Judicial Review of the Dale Farm Production Order will start on Wednesday 25 April at the Royal Courts of Justice. The start of the Judicial Review will be marked by the “Not FIT” protest at 9.15am organised by the NUJ and London Photographers’ Branch (LBP).
To attend please RSVP the NUJ Campaigns department.
On Friday afternoon, 16 March 2012, we received conformation that the application for judicial review on the Dale Farm production was accepted by the High Court.
Following the October 2011 eviction police served production orders on all professional camera teams that covered the operation at the Dale Farm Irish Travellers site at Cray’s Hill in Essex. The court orders were to deliver all the footage shot over two days. Read the rest of this entry »
Following the case that lasted several months spanning 2011 and 2012 at Chelmsford Crown Court and the subsequent ruling against those involved, I can now report the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has submitted an appeal to challenge the production order forcing journalists, media organisations and broadcasters to submit all their footage to the police.
The legal challenge is in response to a court decision requiring those involved to comply with the production order and hand over all footage gathered over the first two days of the Dale Farm eviction to Essex police.
Based on a talk given to NUJ London Photographers’ Branch by Nigel Dickinson, February 2012
Article 10 of the European Convention affirms that there are human rights for the freedom of expression and public rights to receive information. But in FRANCE this right is not absolute and has to be conciliated with certain individual rights. Read the rest of this entry »
Letter to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport
cc’d Mayors Office & City Hall Press Office
The National Union of Journalists, London Photographers’ Branch notes with great concern the proposed introduction of new byelaws covering Trafalgar Square and Parliament Square. We are specifically concerned with the restrictions on press photography in these areas without prior written consent:
“Acts within the Square for which written permission is required: take photographs or film or make any other recordings of visual images for the purpose of or in connection with a business, trade, profession or employment or any activity carried on by a person or body of persons, whether corporate or unincorporate.” Read the rest of this entry »