Tuesday, 9 August 2011

NUJ advice to journalists covering the riots

The NUJ has issued advice to journalists covering civil unrest within the the UK, noting that some reporters, photographers and camera crews have already come under attack.
The union's advice includes:
  • Always carry your press card in an accessible place and use it to identify yourself
  • Carry a map so you can check alternative routes and exit points
  • Leave yourself time to drive the route to check for places for good pictures, trouble spots, level of policing, exit routes
  • If you are parking a car, think carefully where you leave it, as you might need to get out in a hurry
  • If you park too close to the unrest your car could get damaged or blocked if there is trouble
  • If you are a freelance on commission, are you insured by the media organisation?
  • Wear strong boots or shoes and strong, tight-fitting clothing which allow you to move about freely
  • Shin guards, kneepads, body armour, helmet - all or some may be worth thinking about
  • Always remember the weather and dress accordingly
  • Carry the minimum amount of equipment so you can move quickly if need be
  • Have enough film or electronic memory
  • Let someone know that you are covering the unrest and tell them what time you are leaving and at what time to expect you back
  • At all times you should be distinct from the protesters and the police
  • Always work in such a way that if something happens you can extract yourself
  • Keep an eye on fellow journalists in case they need help

The union also suggest journalists carry a copy of the NUJ's and Thompson solicitors emergency phone numbers in case you need help: Thompsons operate a 24-hour emergency number for work-related criminal matters 0800 587 7530

The International News Safety Institute has publishing a safety checklist for journalists covering civil disturbances.

  • The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists says it is aggrieved by reports that journalists covering the riots in London and other cities are being attacked.

    "We are very concerned that the social unrest has spread to aggression against journalists," said Joel Simon, CPJ executive director. "News organizations must take precautions, but we hope demonstrators recognize that it is in the public interest for journalists, as independent observers, to witness and report the facts."

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