GMB Scotland at STUC: Call to prevent police intimidation of journalists
Journalists must be protected from intimidation by police when reporting demonstrations and industrial action, GMB Scotland told the STUC.
Delegate Hailey Maxell said a free press is the foundation of a democratic society and journalists must be allowed to work free from bullying and harassment.
Maxwell said the intimidation of journalists is often linked to the attempted suppression of trade union activity and hailed reporters for exposing a range of employment scandals, including the blacklisting of construction workers and the immoral conduct of undercover officers spying on protest groups.
However, she added: “Those days are not done. Last year, three GMB officers were taken off a picket in handcuffs during lawful industrial dispute with Biffa. They were later found not guilty after the Crown put forward no evidence against them.
“With the incoming anti-strike bill, how many more of our members will find themselves in the cells for waving placards on a picket line?”
The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) had earlier told Congress in Dundee of intimidation by Police Scotland officers of reporters covering public events, including picket lines. Journalists had allegedly been questioned about the angle of their stories, been falsely accused of breaking the law and been obstructed in their work as officers checked their identity against criminal databases.
Congress supported the motion and called on Police Scotland to publish all guidance given to officers on how to treat journalists at public events and for the STUC to write to the national force to remind officers their role is protect a free press not hinder it.
Click on the image below to watch Linda Walker, GMB Scotland Activist speaking at STUC Congress 2023 or follow this link: https://bit.ly/3Lc3U6L