Yesterday saw the last day that the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights took evidence on the committee looking into Policing and Protest. Vernon Coker, the minister for Policing, Crime and Security was questioned by MPs and you can listen to his evidence here. He gives assurances that after meeting with the NUJ in October new and revised guidance was issued to officers about dealing with the media.
We must not under any circumstances unwittingly put ourselves in a situation where photographers, journalists or others may feel that they do not have the right and do not believe that they can pursue their professional job and the public interest.
Vernon Coaker MP
Yet one day before when photojournalist Marc Vallée and videographer Jason Parkinson were covering a protest outside the Greek Embassy, both were assaulted and restricted from carrying out their jobs by Police.
Parkinson has posted a video rush of one of the incidents on Current.tv which you can view here:
What I find most shocking is not the officer placing his hand over both the journalists camera’s, clearly he’s not read the new media guidelines, it’s when he says ‘Scum’ as he walks away. Not only an incredibly stupid thing to say in front of a camera, but extremely unprofessional to say the least. He was an armed diplomatic protection officer and should definitely know better.
Sadly this is the latest in a long series of ongoing incidents of Police intimidating and attacking the press.