Wednesday 9 December 2009

NUJ defends airport arrest photojournalist

The NUJ has hit out at the arrest of a photojournalist at a London airport, claiming he was obstructed by officers from doing his job.
The union says the photojournalist, an NUJ member, was arrested by two armed police officers at London City Airport for an alleged assault on a member of airport security. The photojournalist denies any wrongdoing and the NUJ has instructed lawyers to defend him.
According to the union, the photojournalist had been covering a small and peaceful protest by environmental campaigners in Santa outfits at the airport and was arrested in the middle of filing pictures to national newspapers.
The arrest came after the Association of Chief Police Officers issued new guidance following a series of stories in the Independent alleging police harassment of photographers. The guidance says: "Officers and community support officers are reminded that we should not be stopping and searching people for taking photos. Unnecessarily restricting photography, whether from the casual tourist or professional, is unacceptable."
NUJ general secretary, Jeremy Dear, said: "Despite the new advice to police officers it appears our members are being denied the right to work. We will continue to support members who are exercising their rights."
NUJ legal officer Roy Mincoff added: “While we welcome new guidance and undertakings to ensure that all officers, at whatever level, are aware of their responsibilities to the media, clearly much still needs to be done. The police must ensure that our members’ rights are respected and that what happens in practice reflects the agreed guidance.”

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