ITN is asking amateurs to face danger

ITV’s David Mannion accuses the Chartered Institute of Journalists
of making “false claims” with regard to the London Tonight programme
appealing for mobile phone camera material (Letters, 26 August).

Yet
it was precisely the appeal stating “we want you the viewer to feel
part of the exciting world of newsgathering” (followed by others),
witnessed by many of our members in disbelief and anger, that prompted
our general secretary to write to Mr Mannion in February 2005.

On behalf of the CIoJ, Dominic Cooper expressed concern that ITV could be putting viewers at risk.

This
view has recently been echoed by police contacts, who have voiced
concern at members of the public running around with camera phones at
the scene of recent atrocities, seemingly oblivious to police authority.

Mr Mannion’s reply strongly denied encouraging “members of the public to proactively place themselves in danger”.

Then
how does he explain the following appeal, currently running on the
London Tonight website: “Join the ITV London Eyewitness Newscrew! If
you have a mobile phone that takes still or moving pictures, then get
YOUR pictures on London Tonight. From a riot to a flood, if you see it,
snap it. To register just text NEWSCREW to 80088 and we’ll tell you
when there’s a breaking story in the capital.”

Riots? Floods? Not encouraging untrained amateurs to put themselves in danger, Mr Mannion?

Quite
why anyone should wish to send in their pictures is a mystery. The
website also says: “By sending us your video footage/photographs/audio
you agree we can broadcast, publish and edit the material and pass it
on to others for similar use in any media world-wide without any
payment being due to you. Please do not submit a contribution unless
you accept this.”

Why is London Tonight not appealing for professional stills and video camera operators to register on their database?

Draw your own conclusions.

Barry
Beattie, Vivienne DuBourdieu, Freelance Division Ken Brookes, Copyright
Specialist Paul Stewart, Photographers Division Susan Elkin, Council
Member Chartered Institute of Journalists

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