8 SEPTEMBER 2011
NEWS that journalists have been injured and their lives put at risk while covering the recent riots has angered the Chartered Institute of Journalists (CIoJ).
The Institute has been warning of the dangers for some years and produced its guide to safety “Revolting Britain” in 2005.
General secretary Dominic Cooper said: “It is very frustrating, but sadly no great surprise, that despite urging employers more than five years ago to make safety of their journalists their top priority nothing appears to have been done.
“Employers who send their staff into dangerous situations without adequate training or protection may be considered to be in contravention of health and safety regulations.”
In 2006, after an attack by rioters on journalists in Birmingham, the CIoJ warned: “The Institute has, for some time, been concerned about safety, especially where journalists find themselves covering civil disturbances and public order events. In recent times a number of these events have turned violent in an instant and journalists have found themselves targeted by the baying mob.”
Mr Cooper added: “These words now sound chillingly prophetic – as we said years ago, now is the time for publishers to come together to take action to ensure the safety of journalists who have to face this kind of threat.”
Amanda Brodie, chairman of the CIoJ’s Professional Practices Board, added: “Employers need to take the safety of their journalists seriously. Other workers who are put in these situations as part of their work, such as the police and fire crews, receive specific training for the event. They are also supplied with protective clothing, which should be provided as standard to journalists who are sent into potentially life-threatening situations.
“These attacks are only going to increase as baying mobs attempt to stop images being taken. No more time should be lost. Employers need to take action now.”
Note to Editors
• Earlier this week the CIoJ warned that journalists were being put at risk by police action in pressurising the media to hand over footage obtained by them in covering the riots. It urged journalists not to hand over material unless ordered to do so by the courts.
• Formed in 1884, the Chartered Institute of Journalists (CIoJ) is the world’s oldest established professional body for journalists, and a representative voice of media and communications professionals throughout the UK and the Commonwealth.