NUJ says 'beyond satire' that use of Twitter hashtag saw two journalists ejected from London arms show

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The national Union of Journalists has branded as “unacceptable” the ejection of two journalists from an arms show in London last week after they tweeted about the event.

Jason Parkinson and a colleague working for the Ruptly news agency were thrown out of the Defence & Security Equipment International (DSEI) event at London Excel after they used the #StopDSEI hashtag when they filmed a rooftop protest.

”We were held after we had filmed a protestor on a rooftop,” Parkinson said. ”An event organiser said it was because some tweets I sent out had the #StopDSEi hashtag. The hashtag is common on tweets around the event and protests. We were kicked out after 30 minutes and our press credentials were withheld."

John Toner, freelance organiser at the NUJ, said: “It is unacceptable that journalists should be excluded on the grounds of their opinions.To use a tweet as a pretext for ejection is beyond satire. We hope they will learn from the criticism they have received, and ensure that press freedom is respected at future events."

Pete Jenkins of the NUJ’s photographers’ council said: “The organisers’ statement that they ‘reserve the right to grant, reject or revoke accreditation at any time, at their discretion’, whilst true should not be used to simply exclude members of the Press attending events. Such interference in the freedom of the press is unacceptable.”

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