September 05, 2011

NUJ offers support and assistance to members following attacks during EDL protest

The NUJ has condemned attacks on journalists during the EDL protest in London on Saturday and the union has offered support and assistance to journalists who were abused.

Following the EDL event in East London, the union has received numerous reports of harassment, threats and abuse including physical assaults, racist abuse, bottles and fireworks being thrown at the press and photographers being punched and kicked. One journalist was subjected to a sexual assault and another NUJ member suffered minor burns after an EDL supporter used a flammable accelerant to set the photographer on fire.

Violence directed towards journalists who are simply doing their job is totally unacceptable and the deliberate targeting of journalists by the far-right is a violation of press freedom.

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."

Jason N. Parkinson, NUJ London photographers' branch secretary said: "London Photographers' Branch condemns the attacks on journalists by supporters of the EDL during Saturday's protest. These attacks are just the latest in a long history of violence, threats and even fatwas issued against 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. An attack on the press is an attack on press freedom and on our democracy."

Further information:

Fatwas issued against the press
Redwatch targets the NUJ
Teenager who assaulted journalist jailed for football brawl
Outrage at far-right call to treat photographers as hostile


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