Now it’s time to stand together

Yesterday one of the most respected men in our profession, the Sun’s deputy editor Geoff Webster, stood behind a plexiglass screen as his QC told Westminster Magistrates Court how he had been arrested for simply doing his job.

Up and down the country journalists are also being detained by the police and will, in time, potentially also be hauled before the courts in similar circumstances.

For those who resent the right of the great British public to read what they want it has been a field day to end all field days.

Meantime the industry’s trade unions, along with many organisations who claim to stand for free speech and the Right to Know, have been strangely silent.

Even worse, however, is that we as journalists have been sitting back watching colleagues we know and respect having their lives turned upside down for simply doing their job.

No-one is suggesting for a moment here that photographers, reporters, subs, and the like take part in some kind of national uprising.

But what, what is so wrong about us all standing together for once?

Yesterday a dozen people walked into court with Geoff yesterday – among them colleagues from the Sun and non journalistic friends. It was at all times a quiet and dignified message of support.

The idea arose after one of the hacks watched TV footage of John Kay, the Sun’s Chief Reporter, walking into court alone last month.

Next time one of our number appears in court as a result of doing their job let’s make it two dozen there in support, and after that 50, and after that 100, and so on.

If this job means something to you, if you care about doing what is right, and about journalists trying to point out what is wrong, then please spare an hour to come along. It’s time to stand together.

This blog and the Twitter account @calltoarmsnow will in future post court dates for journalists. Come along and show your support for our industry.

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12 thoughts on “Now it’s time to stand together

  1. He hasn’t been charged with doing his job, he’s been charged with authorising illegal payments to public officials.

    A shame to see the Sun still promoting lies as the truth.

  2. as soon as you say “The great British public” you give yourself away as an insular tabloid hack – strange? – that no one from freedom orgs or trade unions wishes to support you? – not at all strange. They are probably utterly fed up with your arrogant posturing and criminal behaviour, and that seems a good enough reason to stay silent

  3. Maybe you could get upskirt shots of their wife? Their daughters could be shown why they’re loved so much by being chased down dark lanes by a bunch of large men late at night? Perhaps pay the police to find out when the arrests are going to be made so the support can start right away? Impose some made-up morals on them so that any transgression can be front page news?

  4. A crime is a crime. Journalists cannot be exempted. Journalists committing a crime have let down their profession and do not deserve the support of their union. And if you are honest please admit that the same journalists often hold their fellow human beings in contempt. Getting a story ,true or otherwise, by foul means or fair, has been a way of life for some publications for 40 years now. Cleanse the stables!

  5. Every trade unionist who works at the Sun should heed this call. But not people who don’t work at the Sun, because that would be like secondary picketing and therefore morally wrong.

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