The NUJ has condemned a website supporting the far-right English Defence League for carrying a thinly disguised threat against press photographers.
The organisation - which has held a series of demonstrations against what it calls Islamic extremism – objects to media images of their supporters making Nazi salutes. They have told demonstrators to treat photographers and camera operators as “hostile”.
The website reads: “Scum photographers are attending our marches, with the express intention of taking photos they hope will incriminate or badly portray our members, and hopefully catch right wingers who have tagged along on some to make us look racist. For this reason, anyone taking photos or filming our members, unless we have invited them, SHOULD BE TREATED AS A HOSTILE.”
Jeremy Dear, NUJ General Secretary, said: “We also have a name for photographers who expose fascist thugs – we call them excellent journalists. Our members work hard to ensure people have access to independent reports and images of public events. Photographers should be free to take pictures without intimidation. We call on the English Defence League to remove this obvious threat to photographers – and to take down the pictures taken by our members that they have posted in breach of copyright laws.”
John Toner, NUJ Freelance Organiser said: “The NUJ takes threats against its members very seriously, and we condemn the clear incitement to violence intended in the phrase 'should be treated as hostile.' We have reported this threat to the police and their intelligence team will be briefed. Journalists are providing a public service by exposing the thuggery of these racist bigots, and we look to the police to protect media workers as they would protect any other citizens going about their lawful business."
The EDL is holding a protest outside Harrow Central Mosque in Middlesex tomorrow evening (Friday 11 September). Jeremy has agreed to speak at a counter demonstration by anti-fascists. There will be a vigil in solidarity with the Harrow Central Mosque, Station Road, HA1 2SQ from 1.30 pm - but most opponents of the EDL will gather after work for a rally at 6pm.