The NUJ has protested to Lancashire Constabulary about its treatment of journalists covering the EDL protest in Blackburn on Saturday April 2. The police issued their own 'press passes' and denied access to those journalists who were not carrying one. After representations made by NUJ president Peter Murray, the police eventually backed down.
This is the second instance of a police force issuing its own press passes in relation to an EDL demonstration, following similar moves by Leicestershire police last October.
Freelance organiser John Toner has written to the Chief Constable of Lancashire Constabulary to express astonishment at the force’s actions.
John Toner said: “We have worked hard for many years to protect and promote recognition of the UK Press Card, which is recognised by ACPO. The Press Card contains a photograph, a hologram, is laminated and carries a verification phone number. We are constantly improving the integrity of the card and a RFID chip is being phased in. Lancashire Police’s “press pass” had no security features and was simply a photocopy. The one I saw had one journalist’s name and organisation crossed out, and another’s written in biro. We need to convince the police that the UK Press Card should be sufficient identification for any working journalist.”
The NUJ has requested a meeting with the police and the UK Press Card Authority is also going to raise this issue.