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Home Secretary told “end police surveillance of journalists” - NUJ

NUJ | 29.05.2008 15:23 | SOCPA | Other Press | Repression | Terror War | Birmingham | London

The NUJ has called for Home Secretary Jacqui Smith to put an end to police surveillance of journalists.

The move comes after evidence that members of the Metropolitan Police Forward Intelligence Team (FIT) have been recording the activities of journalists, especially photographers, covering demonstrations in London.

NUJ General Secretary Jeremy Dear wrote to the Home Secretary following complaints from photographers that they were under surveillance by members of the FIT team which was impeding their ability to work. In the letter Jeremy Dear says, “The routine and deliberate targeting of photographers and other journalists by the FIT undermines media freedom and can serve to intimidate photographers trying to carry out their lawful work. The rights of photographers to work free from threat, harassment and intimidation must be upheld.”

The letter also calls on the Home Secretary to:

* provide information on whether the FIT team are issued with instructions to photograph and catalogue journalists

* to provide guidelines issued to FIT Team members about their duties/role

* to explain for what purpose is information gained by the FIT team held on journalists by the police

* to give detail on who has access to information being held on police databases about journalists

Jeremy Dear added: "Whilst the police deny they are targeting legitimate photographers we have plenty of evidence to the contrary. This abuse must stop".

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