Police back down after detaining photographer

THE UNION has called for an investigation into the action of Kent police following the arrest and subsequent release of photographer Andy Aitchison. He had been covering a protest at Napier Barracks in Folkestone. NUJ member Andy (pictured)

was held in a cell for seven hours despite attending the demonstration to publicise the treatment of asylum seekers as a member of the press. His arrest caused huge

concern in members of the union and the News Media Association. Questions were asked in the House of Commons of culture secretary Oliver Dowden, and Andy was offered support by his local MP Damian Collins. Following the outcry, Kent police said there

was no evidence to charge him and returned his phone and camera memory card. Andy said: “The NUJ has been fantastic with their support [at] a very tricky time for me and

my family. I cannot thank them enough and for working with Bindmans to ensure I received the best legal support possible. “Their advocacy as well as support have been immense – to have a question put to a minister about my arrest in the House of Commons just blew me away.” “Kate Goold, partner at Bindmans, said: “It is of great concern when the police arrest journalists and photographers for simply doing their job and has a chilling effect on press freedom.

Public interest journalists are essential to

our democracy to document and publicise events as they unfold, especially during the Covid lockdown when the public cannot witness such protests themselves. “Through the support of the NUJ, we were

able to act swiftly to ensure that Mr Aitchison had no further action taken and his phone and memory card returned without the police viewing this confidential journalistic material.”

Iconic cuts more jobs and hours

ICONIC Newspapers, the Irish publisher controlled by UK businessman Malcolm Denmark, has cut more jobs and reduced working hours. The move was announced to staff without prior

consultation with the NUJ or staff representatives. At least 13 editorial staff

have been laid off, with at least 20 more having their hours and pay cut by 20 per cent.

Editors of Iconic’s regional titles issued a letter to readers calling for support of the newspaper print sector. The union urged the

company to match its call for Irish government support

with a change in its attitude towards union recognition. Seamus Dooley, NUJ Irish

secretary, wrote to the editors, saying that both sides wanted a strong future for printed newspapers and they should meet to discuss their aspirations and differences.

General secretary election may be held in the summer

NUJ members may be asked in the summer to vote for a general secretary to lead the union. The union is planning to post ballot papers to members in early June if there is more than one candidate for the job. Michelle Stanistreet has been the NUJ general secretary for the

past 10 years and has been unopposed in the last two elections. The general secretary’s position is subject to election every five years. Announcements about the election are being sent to branches and will be posted on the union’s website later in February; the closing date for applications is noon on May 3. If there is more than one candidate, the union’s ruling national executive council will shortlist applicants. Job advert, page 26 and also see

It is of great concern when police arrest photographers for simply doing their job and has a chilling effect on press freedom

Kate Goold Bindmans


NEIL MCINTOSH IS SCOTSMAN EDITOR Neil McIntosh has been appointed editor of The Scotsman. He moves to the paper from BBC Online where he was managing editor. He has also worked on the Wall Street Journal and The Guardian. Glasgow-born McIntosh started his career on The Scotsman and the Edinburgh Evening News.

NEW EUROPEAN IS BOUGHT BY FOUNDER The New European has been bought from Archant by its founder and former editor Matt Kelly with investment from former Financial Times editor Lionel Barber and ex-New York Times chief executive Mark Thompson. Kelly launched the Remain newspaper in 2016 and was its editor for three years.

FT STARTS ONLINE CLIMATE SECTION The Financial Times has launched a climate change section on its digital platforms in response to growing demand from readers. Climate Capital features stories about climate change. It offers subscribers a community and virtual events programme, and provides information on emerging risks and opportunities for business. Climate changers? Page 12

Lyra McKee

training bursary opens Applications are invited for the Lyra McKee

Investigative Journalism Training Bursary Scheme, run by the

Centre for Investigative Journalism. The scheme was established two years ago in memory of journalist Lyra McKee who was shot dead while reporting on a disturbance in Derry in April 2019. The six-month bursary is intended to provide training and mentoring for people from underprivileged backgrounds. It was inspired by working-class Lyra’s determination to become an investigative journalist despite personal disability and the need to care for her disabled mother. The scheme is open to anyone over 18 and the application deadline is midnight on April 4; see

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