Tough and urgent action is needed in response to violence, intimidation and death threats targeting journalists covering far right demonstrations.
The call by NUJ General Secretary Jeremy Dear comes in the wake of specific email threats against photojournalist and investigative reporter Marc Vallée, and video journalist Jason N. Parkinson. The emails follow verbal threats and intimidation aimed at photographers covering a march by the English Defence League in Leeds at the weekend and other EDL protests this year.
Professional journalists covering the events have filed reports with the NUJ detailing physical violence, including one being punched in the head, verbal threats, and attempts to seize cameras and smash equipment. The union is to file complaints to the police.
Jeremy Dear said:
In a week when yet more photographers have been targeted by right-wing hate website *Redwatch, when out on the streets professional photographers are subjected to violence and intimidation by right-wing thugs, there must be tough and urgent action in response to these latest death threats. These are not idle threats made by kids - these are direct, named threats made by individuals who can be traced - in one case an individual already convicted of stabbing someone. They are designed to silence the media and stop photographers showing the true nature of the protests and protestors. The police must act now before a journalist is killed or seriously injured.Jason N. Parkinson said:
It is ironic the English Defence League claim they are protesting 'peacefully' against Muslim extremism. Then late Saturday night, after returning from covering the Leeds protest, I receive a threatening email from one of their Welsh and English division organisers entitled 'Fatwa'. This is exactly the behaviour and tactics of extremism the EDL claim they are against. Someone should remind the EDL that the fundamental root of all democratic society, including in the UK, is press freedom. Intimidation, violence, Fatwas and death threats are not.Marc Vallée said:
I find it intriguing that only four weeks after attending a BNP press conference - at London’s City Hall - I’m targeted by Redwatch in this way. We should be free to go about our lawful and necessary work without such intimidation. I’m determined that when journalists are targeted in this way the only effective response is a collective one as well as journalistic one.HOPE not hate, Norfolk notes this report is issued on a day when Nick Griffin, chairperson of the BNP, was in court in Preston complaining that someone had shouted at him and had made threatening hand gestures.
*Redwatch is a British neo-Nazi website that publishes photographs and personal information of alleged left-wing and anti-fascist activists, according to Wikipedia
According to Sky News an Asian man has been cleared of racially abusing British National Party leader Nick Griffin.
Tauriq Khalid, 23, denied shouting "white b*******" at a group of far-right demonstrators in his home town of Burnley, Lancashire, in November 2008.
A jury of five women and seven men cleared Khalid of one count of using racially abusive threatening behaviour.
They deliberated for 45 minutes at the end of a three-day trial at Preston Crown Court. Khalid admitted shouting abuse as he drove past a gathering of far-right BNP demonstrators outside Burnley police station.
He told the jury he stopped his silver Vauxhall Astra and shouted "Nick Griffin, you f****** w*****" and made a V-sign with his fingers.
He also admitted he shouted several times "get the f*** out of Burnley, you're not welcome here".
He told the jury: "I shouldn't have done what I done really, it was just a spur of the moment thing."
Not Nick Griffin blog has a satirical take on the trial.
I wonder how much it cost the tax payer -