Report urges Met to facilitate fair reporting
A REPORT on policing protests in the wake of the G20 demos in London in April 2009 has been welcomed by the NUJ. Responding to G20 by the Metropolitan Police Authority includes consultation with protestors and with media workers - the NUJ assisted in organising that. NUJ Freelance Organiser John Toner said "we are pleased to see that our recommendations have been acknowledged and endorsed."
The Civil Liberties Panel of the MPA, which oversees policing in London for the Greater London Authority, recommends that the Metropolitan Police must "review its approach to news management to facilitate transparent and fair reporting by the media and 'citizen journalists'." On the subject of kettling protests, it recommends: "If containment is used, officers should be required to record when they prevent journalists from crossing containment cordons and the reasons for doing so". It wants "a more clearly auditable trail" kept by police of such incidents.
The report notes "Members often report that they encounter police officers who have neither seen nor heard of the Press Card," adding that "there is a training need to ensure that all officers are aware of its implications". Responding to comments by police officers during protests that "the cards might be forgeries", the Civil Liberties panel did some research and concluded that "the cards incorporate sophisticated technology to ensure they could not be forged" as well as having unique PINs.
John Toner said, "We also hope that this is not a report that will be forgotten about", and looked to the Panel to monitor implementation and review progress on the areas highlighted in the report. The report is at www.mpa.gov.uk/clp/2009