Broadcasters' legal victory over Dale Farm footage grab

A coalition of UK broadcasters and the NUJ has won a judicial review at the Court of Appeal overturning a decision forcing them to hand over unbroadcast footage from last October’s Dale Farm evictions to Essex Police.

ITN, the BBC, Sky, Hardcash Productions and the NUJ launched their appeal following the decision by Chelmsford Crown Court to grant the production order earlier this year.

The court’s decision was overturned in a judgment handed down by Mr Justice Eady and Lord Justice Moses at the Royal Courts of Justice this morning.

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In response to the ruling, ITN chief executive John Hardie said: ‘This landmark decision is a legal recognition of the separate roles of the police and independent news organisations.

‘We fought this case on a matter of principle – to ensure that journalists and cameramen are not seen as agents of the state and to protect the safety of our staff .

‘The requests from Essex Police didn’t relate to specific incidents of serious criminality and amounted to no more than a ‘fishing expedition’ to see what footage ITN and other news organisations held on the Dale Farm evictions.

‘We hope that this decision will lead to fewer requests from police for unbroadcast footage of demonstrations and public disorder and rein in what has become an increasingly worrying trend.”

NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet said: ‘Today is a huge victory for the cause of press freedom and the protection of sources and journalistic material. We are incredibly pleased that the NUJ and other media organisations have won the High Court battle against the police production order to force journalists to hand over their Dale Farm eviction footage.”



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