As a ‘Freelance Photo-Journalist’, issues of concern are very different to those ‘office based’ workers

The main issue of concern to me, at the moment, are primarily in ‘Public Order’ matters.

· Press card recognition by the authorities, the police in particular, since they frequently control access to locations. So often, the press card raises little more than a chuckle.

· Advice in defence in court after charges. Primarily arrest for obstruction.

· Civil claims for wrongful arrest and assaults.

· Identity: The wearing of NUJ ‘bibs’. Attitudes of police and protesters to this.

· Dealing with requests from police and authorities for film and footage. They say: ‘for the investigation of crimes’ [this became public as an issue, after the Metropolitan Police request to media organisations and freelances, after the Poll-Tax Riot in London]

· Giving evidence in court after ‘actions or events. ? An impartial observer, or not. Is work available to police or public / protestors, equally?

· Only one solicitors firm now accredited by NUJ, Thompson’s. But, they don’t have depth of experience to handle most of this. Their main experience is in employment rights, contacts etc. They know little is the issues, faced out here on the street. (NUJ, saving money after loose RSI case a while ago).

Thus, many of us have to organise amongst ourselves, aside from the NUJ. Shame, wasn’t always like this!

Other Freelance concerns

· Widespread theft of copyright.

· Media customers asking / demanding ‘All Rights’ perpetual (i.e. Not licensed for specific use or time. This was how we used to do business, and generate an income.

· Competition from ‘Royalty-free’ libraries / sources. This activity lowers standards for photojournalism. (Now the Sunday Supps, are full of ‘lifestyle’ and food and ‘posh house’ pictures. Used to be an outlet for the photo-essay)

· Freelances not adequately trained for dangerous assignments. They are considered ‘dispensable’ compared to sending ‘staffers’.

· Much difficulty in getting adequate insurance for person and kit. Staff journalists are frequently in the same dangers, but company deals with insurance and looking after dependents etc.

· Under representation of freelancers to get any ‘muscle’ within main union activities.

· All the usuals about pensions, representation, fair dealings etc.