Freelance photographer Nick Stern has withdrawn permission for The Sun to use his images as a protest against the treatment of reporter Anthony France.
Sun publisher News UK has funded France's defence against the charge of aiding and abetting misconduct in public office. But following his conviction in May, the publisher declined to pay the prosecution costs of £35,000 – despite the judge saying that he felt it had a moral responsibility to do so.
Last week France was ordered to pay 10 per cent of this figure and within hours a crowdfunding appeal launched by journalist Dennis Rice had raised the money.
Stern has provided numerous front page pictures for The Sun and his archive includes images of the Royal Family, the Beckhams and other famous figures.
In a letter to The Sun's managing editor he said: "I've been a freelance news photographer for over 20 years and much of that time I have provided pictures to the Sun, including many exclusives.
"Following the decision by News UK to refuse to pay costs asssociated with Anthony France's prosecution for charges related solely to his job as a journalist for The Sun, with immediate effect I demand that all of my images be removed from The Sun photo library. Also please remove all images from my agency 'First News Ltd' and 'Red Think Media',
"The Sun no longer has any licence to use any of my content either in print or online."
In a posting on Facebook, Stern said: "Over the past five or so years I've watched as so many of my friends have not only faced a horrendous experience of investigation and in many cases trial but I've also watched as they have been abandoned by News UK Ltd or News international as it was.
"The team at The Sun were some of the most tenacious, resourceful and committed individuals anyone can hope to work alongside.
"Today I have written a letter to the managing editor of The Sun demanding that all my images be removed from their library. They no longer have any right to use them.
"My loyalty lies with those I worked along side. And not with those who are abandoning the one thing that made working at The Sun great – the people."
Press Gazette understands that France is appealing against his conviction and that News UK continues to fund his case. He remains suspended from work but is still a Sun employee.
Picture: Nick Stern.