NUJ members challenge illegal surveillance by UK law enforcement

The IFJ (International Federation of Journalists) has joined the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) in supporting six members who have taken legal action against the Metropolitan Police and the Home Secretary. The legal challenge concerns the monitoring and recording of their lawful journalistic and union activities by Police since 2008.

According to the NUJ, members Jules Mattsson, Mark Thomas, Jason Parkinson, Jess Hurd, David Hoffman and Adrian Arbib have been under police surveillance as part of the police monitoring of so called “domestic extremism.”

The journalists argue that the surveillance and retention of data is unnecessary, disproportionate and not in accordance with the law. The surveillance was revealed as part of an ongoing campaign, which began in 2008, during which NUJ members have been encouraged to obtain data held about them by the authorities including the Metropolitan Police ‘National Domestic Extremism and Disorder Intelligence Unit’ (NDEDIU).

All of them have previously worked on media reports that exposed corporate and state misconduct, and they have each previously pursued litigation or complaints arising from police misconduct, the NUJ added.

NUJ General Secretary Michelle Stanistreet added, “there is no justification for treating journalists as criminals or enemies of the state, and it raises serious questions for our democracy when the NUJ is forced to launch a legal challenge to compel the police to reveal the secret evidence they have collected about media workers”.

The IFJ has also condemned the police action, describing it as a breach of privacy and undue interference in journalists’ lawful activities. IFJ President Jim Boumelha said, “We consider this surveillance as an attack on our colleagues’ right to privacy, and condemn their treatment as domestic extremists by the police.” He added, “We urge the British authorities to stop this unacceptable state interference in journalists’ and trade unionists’ legitimate affairs.”

Full NUJ statement here: