The assistant chief constable for the Lancashire police has assured the National Union of Journalists the force will not repeat the giving out of its own press passes in the way it did earlier this month, following a complaint from the union.
According to the NUJ the police force issued the local press passes for a demonstration by the English Defence League in Bradford.
Following the decision NUJ freelance organiser John Toner wrote in complaint to the force, and has now received a response from assistant chief constable Andy Cooke to say he “would like to reassure you, and your members, that we will not be issuing a press pass again for this sort of event”.
But he added the force will be asking for recognised accreditation into controlled zones or areas. John Toner responds to the news below:
This is a welcome response, and I have replied with copies of our leaflets explaining the merits of the UK Press Card.
I have also asked the UK Press Card Authority to seek a meeting with the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) who officially recognise the Press Card.
We need to ensure that all police forces recognise the Press Card and provide access to bearers of the cards.
Writing on the Online Journalism Review website, Jason Stverak, discusses the issue of press credentials and who gets them.
It’s another branch of an issue Journalism.co.uk reported on earlier this week after a citizen journalism news wire Demotix was criticised for handing out its own press passes to some of its contributors.
Stverak argues that staff cuts at traditional media mean the industry should be supporting those citizens and independent journalists who want to take on the role of holding those in power to account – and if press credentials could help them do that job and the content they produce is worthy, they should be equally entitled.
And while there is no one covering the meetings and hearings, and poring over public records, there are people forming to take on these stories. However, these non-profit reporters, citizen journalists and bloggers are often being shown the cold shoulder and being denied credentials because they don’t have a business card from a newspaper or television station.
Denying press credentials to independent, non-profit and citizen journalists who are working to get stories is doing a disservice to every news consumer. Many of these journalists are filling the void that is left when a local newspaper cuts back or closes. They do the same job that the legacy media reporters are sometimes are doing it without either a paycheck or title.
See his full post here…