NUJ backs Jason Parkinson after police production order following EDL demo

Tim Lezard

NUJ logoVideo journalist Jason Parkinson is today in court after refusing to hand over to police footage of an EDL rally.

Greater Manchester Police have applied for a production order compelling the NUJ member to give them published and unpublished footage of the EDL march and UAF counter protest in Bolton in March 2010.

Jason Parkinson said: “I am not willing to hand unpublished material over. Journalists report the news and are not evidence gatherers for the police or anyone else. To do so would endanger the safety of all journalists in similar situations in the future. We would not be regarded as independent and would become greater targets from all sides.

“Also handing over the footage could overturn the incredibly important victory for press freedom we achieved fighting the Dale Farm production order last year.”

His stance is backed by the NUJ, whose general secretary Michelle Stanistreet said: “Jason Parkinson is a frontline journalist and should have the right to work in the public interest without fearing he will be forced to hand over his footage. The union will continue to support Jason’s campaign to protect journalistic sources and material.”

Jason was served a production order in 2011 for all footage shot over the two days of the Dale Farm eviction in Essex. Major national broadcasters also opposed the production order.

In a united effort, the NUJ led an eight-month battle in partnership with the BBC, ITN, Sky and Hardcash Productions that ended in the Royal Courts of Justice. In May 2012 Judge Moses overturned the original Dale Farm production order in a huge win for press freedom in the UK.

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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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