Posts Tagged ‘Safety’

April Branch Meeting: The Safety of Journalists

25th April, 2014

Daheih, South Beirut, Lebanon. After a night of bombing by Israe

The discussion at this month’s branch meeting will be about the intensifying violence against journalists who report on events around the world. The guest speaker is Jim Boumelha, President of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), which represents around 600,000 members in more than 134 countries.

Over the past 12 years more than 1,100 journalists and media staff have been killed in the line of duty, because someone did not like what they wrote or said, or because they were in the wrong place in the wrong time. The IFJ monitors press freedom violations and campaigns for greater safety and for a focus on the in-country journalists and freelances, who are at greatest risk and who have the least protection. It has also launched a global campaign to end violence against women journalists.

6.00pm Tuesday 29 April, Headland House, 308-312 Gray’s Inn Road, London WC1X 8DP

Journalists Not Evidence Gatherers

15th August, 2011

7th August 2011. Police Evidence Gathering Team in Tottenham during disorder. © Jules Mattsson/LNP

The disorder that swept England recently has calmed, leaving untold destruction, injury and a number of deaths in it’s wake. Lens-based journalists are often in the frontline of these situations to report, receiving aggression from all sides.

Already a number of photographers have been injured and mugged while covering disturbances, radio cars burnt and TV networks have had to pull their crews out of entire areas. The risk to media workers in this sort of situation is massive, especially to those who have to work with visible equipment.

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As the far-right rises, we must protect our members

12th April, 2010


EDL organiser & BNP activist Chris Renton (middle) photographs members of the media at a EDL protest in Bolton. Image © Jess Hurd/reportdigital.co.uk 2010

March’s NUJ London Photographers Branch (LPB) meeting saw members vote to condemn the targeting of journalists by the English Defence League (EDL). The motion also agreed that the LPB would support the NUJ Expose The BNP campaign.

EDL street numbers have drastically increased in less than a year. They claim they are a multicultural, non-racist, non-violent organisation, protesting against “militant Islam”. Yet the published photographs and television news reports show a very different picture. Racism, violence, criminal damage and clashes with the police have become standard on their protests. Connections with far right groups have been repeatedly exposed by various news outlets. The EDL claim they are being misrepresented by a left-wing media conspiracy and their response has been to target journalists. For those regularly covering the protests, intimidation, threats and violence have followed.

Email threats have been issued, warning journalists not to document EDL protests. Journalists’ websites have received increasingly racist and threatening comments. Photographs identifying journalists have appeared inside EDL forums and on the website of Casuals United, a group supporting the EDL, set up to recruit hooligan gangs from football ground terraces across the country. Information, names and addresses of journalists have been sought and messages sent out to EDL and Casuals United members to “keep an eye out”, “give them a warm welcome” and “have a word with them”.

Some journalists and photographers found out at the Stoke protest in January this year what ‘having a word’ meant. Several received punches to the head while others came under a targeted hail of bricks, bottles, lighters, coins, wooden debris and burning rags soaked in petrol.

Two months later in Dudley a further four photographers were punched, kicked and threatened. Several of these attacks came from EDL stewards. With the types of weapons being carried during the demonstrations – knuckle dusters, knives, lighter fluid canisters and bottles of bleach – it is clear that the threats against working journalists covering the far right in the UK are extremely serious.

The London Photographers Branch vows to continue supporting all its members coming under attack.