Boris Johnson has been known to have a few choice words about journalists – certainly not nice ones! But he does come from a journalism background himself and recognises the challenges that journalists have faced for simply going about their work.
Today the Government announced a plan to protect journalists. The plan is aimed at raising awarenessof safety issues faced by journalists, new training for police officers and journalists, seeking commitments from social media platforms and reviewing laws relating to prosecution for those that abuse journalists.
The plan built with the the hello of the National Committee for the Safety of Journalists has been welcomed and will be reviewed regularly as issues around freedom of speech and censorship change.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
“Freedom of speech and a free press are at the very core of our democracy, and journalists must be able to go about their work without being threatened.
“The cowardly attacks and abuse directed at reporters for simply doing their job cannot continue.
“This action plan is just the start of our work to protect those keeping the public informed, and defend those holding the government to account.”
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport will soon be running consultations so journalists can feed back their ideas and problem areas. They will also be looing at hospital reports and existing data from journalists. The Media Lawyers Association will produce further guidance to help journalists understand where the law is broken and what they can do about it as well as help arrange training for freelancers.
Hopefully the plan will pave the way for safer working for journalists, a clearer focus on freedom of speech and prosecutions where people abuse journalists for simply doing their job.