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03 June 2021

Government Launches Consultation For Journalists To Share Experiences of Abuse

The Government is encouraging journalists working in the UK to share their experiences of being threatened and abused to help better understand the issue and to improve journalist safety.

The minister for media and data, John Whittingdale and minister for safeguarding, Victoria Atkins, said: “Journalists play a crucial role in any democratic society; providing critical information, provoking debate and holding power to account.

“Unfortunately, too many journalists in the UK have reported that they feel unable to continue to carry out this vital work, because they are subject to threats, abuse and violence, simply for doing their jobs [...]

“A key strand of the Plan is the need to fully understand the nature and scale of the problem we are trying to address.

“We are therefore launching this Call for Evidence to help us gather the necessary evidence, to understand the threats that journalists face, and the impact that these have on journalism. We also want to understand whether journalists feel reticent to report incidents to law enforcement, and if so, why this might be. We need to know as much as possible about this problem, to ensure that we are taking the right steps to combat it […]

“This is not only a matter of principle, but it also recognises the value of the profession and its importance to the British public.”

In 2020, the UK set up the National Committee for the Safety of Journalists, which comprises representatives from Government, journalism, policing, civil society and prosecution services. The NMA is a member. In March, the Committee published the first ever National Action Plan for the Safety of Journalists, which aims to create a safer working environment for journalists in the UK.

The consultation closes on 14 July at 11.45pm. You can respond online or email safetyofjournalists@homeoffice.gov.uk.