Received from: NUJ
Congress condemns the increasing rate of journalists across the UK being harassed, abused and physically attacked in the course of their work. It notes the NUJ’s survey of members which found that journalists had been punched, threatened with knifes, forcibly detained, kicked and spat at. They also reported online and offline death threats, rape threats and other threats to physically harm them, their families and their homes.
Congress further notes that women and Black and minority ethnic journalists face disproportionate abuse and that such harassment risks silencing journalists and censoring debate.
Against that backdrop, Congress finds it disturbing that incidents have continued to rise, with a proliferation during lockdowns, particularly at demonstrations where reporters and photographers have been harassed and physically attacked, accused of being “collaborators”, “government agents” and purveyors of “fake news”.
Congress reaffirms the vital role journalism plays in a democratic society. Congress welcomes the action plan from the government’s National Committee for the Safety of Journalists, launched in February, and instructs the General Council to support its measures and further campaign for:
i. improvements in public discourse, particularly amongst those in public office, and their responsibility to ensure media access and refrain from denigrating journalistic work
ii. action from the tech giants to stamp out disinformation and fake news, shown to undermine trust in journalism and increase hostility towards journalists, and overdue action to stop its platforms disseminating racist abuse
iii. better awareness of the role of journalism in our society and the need for greater diversity and plurality.
National Union of Journalists