The relationship between journalists and police has never been an easy one. Here are eight important guidelines on how the police should interact with journalists. These directives should be used by the police when dealing with journalists in all EU-member states. The rules should guide individual police decisions, raise awareness of press freedom violations carried out by the police, and enhance the relationship between both professions.
1. Any violence by police staff against journalists is unacceptable.
2. Journalists have the right to gather information and police should protect them from any illegal interference, especially at demonstrations.
3. Journalists should have the right to identify individual police staff and to document and report on the work of the police forces.
4. Police are not allowed to erase footage, nor to confiscate journalists’ equipment without a proper warrant.
5. Journalists should not be criminalised, discriminated against nor blacklisted for their assumed political attitude.
6. Journalists should not be targeted by police surveillance.
7. If police harm, threaten or harass journalists, these actions must be condemned, investigated and made public by independent investigators.
8. Police should be trained and regularly updated on journalists’ rights.
Police and Press – A link list of Best Practices
Several initiatives in many European countries are dedicated to improve the relationship of police and press. Here you find an overview on recent projects, education programs, information sources and dialogue settings:
- Media literacy department MDR360*
- Practical overview on journalists’ rights
- Training programmes
- Steering Group on Aggression and Violence against Journalists
- Freedom of Expression and Public Order
- Coordination Centre for monitoring, analysis and exchange of information on intimidation of journalists
- Public order – press and police
- Public Order Authorised Professional Practice
- Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe
- Central Bureau of Inter-Forces for Personal Security
- Verhaltensgrundsätze für Presse/Rundfunk und Polizei