EDL protest film man in court battle

First published in News

A PROTEST will be held outside a court today as a video journalist fights a police order forcing him to hand over footage shot at the English Defence League and Unite Against Fascism protests in Bolton.

Greater Manchester Police has applied for a production order to see all footage shot by Jason Parkinson at the demonstration in March, 2010.

London-based Mr Parkinson, aged 43, who fought an eight-month battle against a similar attempt to get footage of the Dale Farm eviction in Essex in 2011, has refused to comply. He said he has not been told why the police want the footage and says that handing over the material takes away the freedom of the press.

Members of the National Union of Journalists will be protesting outside Minshull Street Crown Court, Manchester, as the case is heard. He will be attending the hearing and may have to argue his case in court.

Mr Parkinson said: “I am not willing to hand over unpublished material. 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.”

NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet said: “Jason Parkinson is a front line journalist and should have the right to work in the public interest without fearing he will be forced to hand over his footage.”

National broadcasters also opposed the production order.

Ch Insp Mike Dawson has previously said that Greater Manchester Police “respects the rights and freedoms of the press” but said it “believed the footage requested will be of substantial value to an ongoing prosecution”.

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