By Sally Underwood • 09 March 2021 • 11:04
Government Publishes First National Plan to Protect UK Journalists. Image: Wikimedia
The national plan, which will see journalists protected from harassment, is the first of its kind to be published by the UK government.
According to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), UK journalists have reported as being punched, threatened with knives, forcibly detained and even threatened with rape and murder.
The plan will see training for police officers and journalists, while prosecution services across the UK have confirmed they will take a robust approach towards crimes against journalists.
In addition, every police force will be given access to a journalist safety liaison officer, while the National Police Chiefs’ Council has appointed an officer to take responsibility for crimes against journalists nationally.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “Freedom of speech and a free press are at the very core of our democracy, and journalists must be able to go about their work without being threatened.
“The cowardly attacks and abuse directed at reporters for simply doing their job cannot continue.
“This action plan is just the start of our work to protect those keeping the public informed, and defend those holding the government to account.”
A survey of members of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) in November last year found nearly a quarter had been physically assaulted or attacked.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “Attacks on journalists are not only horrendous for those individuals but an assault on our democracy.
“Today’s action plan will make sure journalists can go about their vital work without fear.”
Ian Murray, executive director of the Society of Editors said: “The action plan recognises the urgency of protecting journalists carrying out their vital role in protecting democracy.
“Due to their role in holding the powerful and those in authority to task journalists attract strong reactions.
“But this should not manifest itself in ways that threaten journalists and their families. This action plan makes that clear.”
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Originally from London, Sally is based on the eastern Costa del Sol and is a journalist for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]
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