Posts Tagged ‘Press Freedom’

August Meeting: Digital Data Security

21st August, 2012

6pm, 28th August 2012, NUJ, 308 Gray’s Inn Road

Technology and widespread Internet access encourage instant freedom of communication and organisation on a level previously thought impossible. We’ve seen the impact of these new ways of organising across the Middle East last year and in many situations closer to home. But there’s a sinister, dangerous side to these technologies where companies and governments can access, use and block data to censor, spy on, follow or hurt those trying to distribute it.

We’ve seen the state simply turning off communications in Egypt, the Syrian military targeting and killing journalist Marie Colvin and her colleagues after locating them through their data transmissions, and journalists having data cards, tapes and computer equipment taken or destroyed in many other countries. This meeting will cover two aspects of data security; the technological side of encryption, backup, secure transmission & ensuring data file integrity as well as the legal side of the laws relating to the state accessing and retaining your information, police surveillance and monitoring activities, your Data Protection obligations and protection from seizure of journalistic material as evidence.

Speaking will be Anna Mazzola & Athalie Matthews from Bindmans LLP as well as a Q&A on technology with photographers Edward Hirst & Jules Mattsson.

Please do RSVP on facebook here and invite interested colleagues, our panel meetings are open to all.

Topshop Action Cancelled

10th August, 2012

Photographer Jess Hurd defies her ban from Topshop’s flagship Oxford Street store © Autumn Parkinson

 

Topshop offers to meet photographer Jess Hurd and NUJ representatives

In response to demands from the NUJ, Topshop have contacted the union and offered a meeting with senior representatives of Topshop and Arcadia to discuss Jess Hurd’s complaint. As a consequence the NUJ protest on Saturday 11 August has now been cancelled.

Jess Hurd said: “I am pleased Topshop have apologised for the delay and offered to meet with the NUJ – up until now the company had ignored my complaint. I would like to thank fellow NUJ members who organised solidarity and put pressure on Topshop via social networks. Collectively we will continue to make companies accountable when they refuse to respect press freedom and defend members who suffer abuse in this way.”

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary said: “I am glad Topshop have seen sense and have responded to the complaint. Journalists play a critical public interest role in reporting on protests so the public are informed about what was happening. It is simply unacceptable that NUJ members face abuse and harassment whilst doing their jobs.”

Jess Hurd described the event in a complaint sent to Topshop in March 2012:

“Whilst attempting to photograph arrests of peaceful Uk Uncut protesters in Topshop, Oxford Circus, I was asked by a person I thought to be a security guard to leave, I said ‘ok’.

“As I was leaving I took a couple of pictures of an arrest. The man then said ‘right I’m arresting you for aggravated trespass’. He was not wearing a uniform and had not identified himself as a police officer.

“He began manhandling me, I said, ‘I’m a member of the press, I don’t understand why you are arresting me, I’m trying to leave’. He continued to use force to move me towards the back of the store and pulled my clothing up, exposing my upper body. I was sure that he didn’t have arrest powers and challenged again, he then said he was detaining me for ‘resisting arrest’. He was using quite a lot of force and I was shouting ‘you’re assaulting me, get your hands off me’.

“The security guard who ‘arrested’ me said that I couldn’t photograph and to keep my camera pointed down. The police officers held me by each wrist.

“I asked them if I was really arrested and they said yes. I asked them under what law I was arrested as I was there working as a member of the press. They quoted s68 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act.

“I asked if I could get my phone out because I wanted to record their details and the law they were using. They refused saying that I could make a call down at the police station. They continued to hold me and asked to take my camera which I declined.

“An inspector came into the room. I asked him why I was being held and that I was a member of the press. The male officer asked him if they were ‘continuing the original plan’, or words to that effect. The inspector said ‘hang on’ and sent the woman officer to get the security guard.

“They all came back and said I would be released but that I was ‘banned from Topshop’, I asked ‘why?’ and he said it was because I ‘trespassed’. I clarified, ‘so I’m not arrested then?’ and the inspector said, ‘not if you acknowledge that you have been banned from the store’.

Read full NUJ complaint

Drapers Online article

NUJ Press Release

We will keep you updated with developments.

 

Olympics Legal Guidelines

17th July, 2012

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

 

Read the rest of this entry »

Dale Farm Production Order Overturned

17th May, 2012

 

Video journalist Jason N. Parkinson with NUJ supporters outside the Royal Courts of Justice before the Dale Farm production order judicial review. © Jess Hurd/reportdigital.co.uk

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.

Press Clippings:

Read Guardian, Independent, ITN, BBCPress Gazette articles.

 

 

NUJ Meet With G4S

15th May, 2012

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.

Hostile Olympic Security

23rd April, 2012

Olympic security guards try to prevent photographers and video journalists from filming the Olympic site from the public highway. East London.

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.

See Guardian video here

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

Other links:

I’m a Photographer Not a Terrorist

Put your camera away: security guards offer glimpse of Olympic enforcers

Olympic Park Security Guards Forcibly Stop Journalists form taking photos (Guardian)

Press Freedom at the Beijing Olympics (Guardian)

O2 Olympic venue security staff stop legal photography (Guardian)

Olympics’ security guards “trained to deter people from taking photographs” (BJP)

Olympic Guards Wrong to stop Photographer, Admits 02 (AP)

Rod Liddle’s Got Issues: CCTV (Sunday Times)

Photography and Hostile Reconnaissance, a guide for BSIA members

The Dead Zone – Philip Wolmuth

Security & the London 2012 Olympics – Grant Smith

Defending Journalism – Judicial Review

12th April, 2012

Not FIT design © Jason N. Parkinson

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.

Previous posts

NUJ and Broadcasters Granted Judicial Review

Why I’m Resisting the Dale Farm Production Order

Journalists Not Evidence Gatherers

We Are Press Not Police Intelligence

Protecting Journalistic Material

Defending Journalism: Parliamentary Discussion

12th 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.

Previous posts

NUJ and Broadcasters Granted Judicial Review

Why I’m Resisting the Dale Farm Production Order

Journalists Not Evidence Gatherers

We Are Press Not Police Intelligence

Protecting Journalistic Material

NUJ & Broadcasters Granted Judicial Review

18th March, 2012

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 »

NUJ Appeals Dale Farm Production Order

29th February, 2012

Enter Dale Farm: A riot police officer points a taser gun

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.

In today’s press release those applying for appeal in addition to myself are the BBC, ITN, BskyB, Hardcash Productions. Read the rest of this entry »