Tuesday, 6 September 2011

NUJ claims EDL supporters attacked journalists

The NUJ has accused supporters of the English Defence League of attacking journalists covering their protest in East London on Saturday.

The union says reporters and photographers were on the receiving end of threats, racist abuse and physical assaults.

It claims one journalist was subjected to a sexual assault and a photographer suffered minor burns after an EDL supporter tried to set them on fire. The NUJ also alleges bottles and fireworks were thrown at the press.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said: “These violent attacks are an appalling abuse of press freedom and a clear attempt by members of the EDL to deter journalists from carrying out their work.

“These attacks are designed to intimidate NUJ members and those in the local community who are determined to stand up to far-right groups.

“The police need to take decisive action to ensure that the thugs who attacked journalists during the EDL protest are identified and prosecuted."

NUJ London Photographers Branch secretary Jason N. Parkinson said: “These attacks are just the latest in a long history of violence, threats and even fatwas issued on the press and there is only one reason behind them all – to intimidate and deter the media exposing the violent and racist behaviour of the far right."

The NUJ has in the past condemned far right websites which have said that photographers covering EDL marches should be treated as “hostile”.

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