THE RECENT arrests and harassment of journalists at Just Stop Oil protests has been condemned by the National Union of Journalists and by other organisations concerned with civil liberties and media freedom.

The NUJ’s National Executive Committee discussed the issue at its meeting on 11 November, committing itself to give ongoing backing to members.

Many reporters and commentators have expressed deep concern about the impact of the new UK Public Order Bill, which applies to England and Wales.

“The new legislation and culture is already having chilling impact on protest, freedom of speech and the freedom of the press”, one journalist told Ekklesia.

The NUJ executive committee motion reads:

This NEC condemns the behaviour of various police forces, particularly Hertfordshire in harassing journalists including arrests for simply doing their jobs, despite providing press cards.

NEC agrees to provide maximum support for members and to make our protests known to parliament and the police forces.

Meanwhile, ten organisations, including the NUJ, have sent a joint letter to the Home Secretary, highlighting the dangerous effect of the arrests on freedom of expression. They are urging Suella Braverman to reconsider plans under the Public Order Bill.

The other groups are Netpol, Liberty, Unlock Democracy, Amnesty International UK, RSF, English PEN, Justice, and Index on Censorship.

* Source: National Union of Journalists