Keep clear

The September Freelance included an article concerning NUJ talks with the Metropolitan Police regarding harassment of photographers, and another had Matt Salusbury, writing as an NUJ LFB member asked to report on a new NUJ-endorsed Public Order Safety course, confessing to then going to the G8, and "embedding" himself with the Clown Army, a group of anti-G8 protesters.

A journalist's political opinions, their editorial standpoint or the editorial standpoint of their outlet is their own business - I would ask however as a matter of principle and practical necessity in public order situations that journalists decide they're either protesters or journalists and act accordingly, and not create problems for their NUJ peers or the union itself by blurring the line between the two and additionally confirming the prejudices of many police officers on the ground.

Matt Salusbury makes great play of trainer Mal Greer's "military culture" background. Mal Greer is now of course a civilian like the rest of us, and by Matt Salusbury's admission, has expressed his personal dilemmas attending protests along with his media clients... hardly a "counter-revolutionary warfare squadron" mentality, in my opinion.

Mal Greer's company has extensive experience in media safety training and I feel his goodwill and willingness to work with the NUJ to develop the course has been pretty shabbily handled in this matter and he may even lose clients as a result.

Was Mal Greer given the chance to take on board any criticism or queries before Matt's politically-motivated scepticism appeared in the Freelance?

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