THE CONDUCT of police dealing with journalists covering events has shown improvement in recent years, and the NUJ's Freelance Organiser John Toner has written to South Wales police to congratulate them on their helpful interaction with photographers covering a National Front demo in March.
The last few months have, however, also seen a couple of alarming cases. In one, police stopped and searched a vanload of nine journalists travelling to cover a far-right march in Brighton, under the Terrorism Act - and in another Greater Manchester Police got a "production order" forcing NUJ freelance videographer Jason Parkinson to hand over a clip from his video footage of a Unite Against Fascism counter-demonstration in Bolton. And as a result of recommendations in the Leveson report, the announcement of a consultation on weakening the defence of "journalistic material" in the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) is imminent. Current law requires police to obtain a court order before seizing "journalistic material."
Watch our "right to report" roundup at www.londonfreelance.org/fl/r2r.html