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Open letter to The Camp for Climate Action from NUJ.

National Union of Journalists | 25.07.2008 14:47 | Climate Camp 2008 | Other Press | London

An open letter to The Camp for Climate Action from the National Union of Journalists.

Dear Media Team,

Last year I wrote to you raising our concerns over your restrictions on media access to your Climate Camp at Heathrow Airport.

I am writing to you again, at the request of many of our members, to protest at your arrangements for this year’s Camp at Kingsnorth.

In a similar way to last year’s procedures, you intend to restrict the media to “facilitated tours” of the camp between 11am and 1pm. To limit access in this way severely hampers the ability of the media to provide objective and accurate coverage.

You then go on to state that journalists will be permitted to take part in the camp outside the two-hour tour, provided they sign a code of conduct. You might be aware that journalists are already governed by codes of conduct, including that of the NUJ, which you can read here

We consider it unacceptable that you should seek to control journalists in this way.

You also intend to issue a “press badge” showing name and affiliation. You should be aware that professional journalists will be able to identify themselves by producing their National Press Card. Many freelance journalists will not have any affiliation, as they are not working on behalf of any particular media company.

As an organisation that espouses openness and transparency, you risk accusations of hypocrisy if you follow such procedures restricting the media.

It is not too late to change this. Would you please reconsider your media access policy while there is still time?

Yours sincerely,

John Toner
Freelance Organiser
National Union of Journalists

National Union of Journalists
- Homepage:


The Climate Camp Media Team's reply to John Toner

26.07.2008 07:51

We'd like to emphasise that the policy is NOT designed to control the media message or prevent critical coverage but to allow camp life to unfold without the continuous pressure of media attention.

Here is our reply to John Toner

Dear John Toner,

Thank you for your letter today. We are sorry to hear that you are
unhappy with the media access policy for the Camp for Climate Action
2008. There are a few things that we would like to clarify.

There seems to be a misunderstanding regarding the daily length of access
for journalists. Journalists have access to the camp 24 hours a day for
the duration of the camp, with the 2-hour media tour being the time in
which they can use photo and recording equipment. As you know, this is a
significant increase in access from that which was provided last year. To
be clear, the access policy states:

"Journalists are welcome to take part in the camp outside the two hour
media tour, for the entire duration of the camp (3 – 11 August inclusive).
You will be asked to register and sign a code of conduct upon arrival at
the gate. The use of cameras or other recording equipment on the site is
not permitted outside the hours of 11am to 1pm, but a comfortable, covered
space, with a good view into the camp, has been provided at the main
entrance for this purpose".

The code of conduct in question (which is attached) is specific to the
camp, and is similar to most access policies that journalists would be
requested to sign up when going into places where people live and/or work.

Regarding your concerns about the press badges: we are aware that some
journalists work freelance, and as such do not have an affiliation, in
which case it is obviously fine to indicate this on their badge.

The aim of the policy is to accommodate the media interest and at the same
time respect the wishes of those attending the camp. We would like to
emphasise that for one week people from all walks of life will come
together to build a sustainable eco-village in a field, giving up their
paid working hours to achieve the camp's aims. That field will be their
home and workspace where they are entitled to the right to go about their
business without lenses trained on their every move, that same right to
privacy we all enjoy in our own homes and workplaces.

We would also like to point out that the climate camp seems to be measured
against a standard of access that is rarely found in the real world.
Journalists do not get to walk into people's homes or workplaces without
an invitation, and when there, they are rarely given carte blanche to
enter spaces considered private or restricted, for whatever reasons, nor
interrupt meeting or disrupt people's work.

Finally, the media policy is not something that the media team is at
liberty to change. As you know, it has been drawn up by consensus over
the period of a year by the 50 - 100 people who attend the monthly
climate camp gatherings. The process is extremely open and transparent,
and involved input from several NUJ members.

We hope that these clarifications will help to alleviate your concerns.

Yours sincerely,
The Camp for Climate Action media team

Climate Camp Media Team
- Homepage:

Summary of the camps media policy

26.07.2008 09:54


We welcome journalists to the 2008 Camp for Climate Action. Facilitated tours of the camp will be available each day (3 - 8 August inclusive) from 11am to 1pm. A member of the camp media team will explain how the camp functions, provide interviews or find people who can answer specific questions. While participating in the tour you are welcome to film, take photos and use recording equipment.

Journalists are also welcome to take part in the camp outside the two hour media tour, for the entire duration of the camp (3 – 11 August inclusive). You will be asked to register and sign a code of conduct upon arrival at the gate. The use of cameras or other recording equipment on the site is not permitted outside the hours of 11am to 1pm, but a comfortable, covered space, with a good view into the camp, has been provided at the main entrance for this purpose. While on site you will be asked to wear a press badge showing your name and affiliation.

For the duration of the camp the site is people's home and workplace, so please respect participants’ right to privacy. For obvious reasons, some spaces such as the medics, well-being and legal support tents, as well as some neighbourhoods, are off-limits (see code of conduct for a list). The media team will aim to facilitate interviews with people working in these spaces if needed. When attending workshops, it is up to the facilitator to decide whether or not to allow journalists to attend.

Please note that journalists are welcome to participate in the camp in a personal capacity without registering, as long as they do not publish or broadcast reports about the camp. Journalists found to have done so without having registered will not be welcome to attend future Camp for Climate Action events.


The camp media team works to ensure that timely information about the camp and associated actions reaches the mainstream media. They also assist journalists on site and provide or arrange interviews on request. Each day there will be training (check the media tent for times) for anyone who would like to learn about working with the mainstream media.


To ensure that the camp is well documented, there is a group of people providing a daily pool of content for the camp website, TV, radio and future publicity projects. A limited number will be working at any one time, and they will wear a badge identifying them as part of the documentation group while working.


Grassroots media is an essential counter-measure to the often simplistic and conflict-based accounts presented in the mainstream. The true story of the camp is a rich and diverse exploration of positive action on climate change, and it doesn't get told enough – so campers are invited to tell their own stories under the banner 'Be the Media'.

Write reports or a daily blog, publish your photos, collaborate on video coverage or get involved with the radio team that will be putting together daily audio reports to be broadcast during meal times. Help to ensure that the workshops, plenary sessions and all the collective processes and infrastructure that make the camp possible are well documented – but please respect people's right to privacy in the process.

Always get the consent of those who will be clearly identifiable in your photos or recordings. Please only film or record between 11am and 1pm, or join the camp documentation group. If you want to record or film a workshop, please first ask the facilitator if it is okay to do so.

The 'Be The Media' space is open to everybody who wants to be involved in grassroots media production and documentation of the camp. There will be a series of training session and discussions (see workshop programme) along with plenty of other opportunities to learn from and work with others. Facilities include internet access points, a photo desk to help you get images off your camera, along with space and equipment for video and audio production.

During the days of action, please phone in reports so that the camp media team, websites and radio can be kept up to date (come to media tent for reporting line details).

When you go home, don't forget to continue to 'Be The Media', adding your experiences into global conversations on the most important issues of our times.

fair do


Display the following 37 comments

  1. Camp for Climate Action and Media Manipulation...again — PhotoRights
  2. Here we go again 'Dear John' — representing me
  3. ??? — ?
  4. Free access to your living room — camper
  5. NUJ = Elistist — Cold Stomper
  6. "accusations of hypocrisy if you follow such procedures restricting the media" — said the man who just posted on the open newswire!
  7. Priorities — rasputin
  8. technical point to 'cold stomper' — bill posters
  9. NUJ membership re Bill Poster. — Cold Stomper
  10. Marxist NUJ? — snapper
  11. ??? --? — not amused
  12. Toner's hypocrisy — unnecessary
  13. Where does Indymedia stand on this? — Itsme
  14. yer' havin' a larf, mate! — FTP
  15. Be The Media? — camper
  16. Peter Marshall — snapwatch
  17. "The NUJ has never recoginsed the Alternative Press." — Facts
  18. NUJ and 'alternative' media — my 2 cents worth
  19. It boils down to this — seems fair enough
  20. Censorship And Self Serving Bollocks. — Sion Touhig
  21. I can't help thinking... — Guido
  22. Sion, Lies and Video Tape — media whore
  23. Self serving, yes — that's us
  24. Missing the point guido — n
  25. Loaded terminology — friends like these
  26. Would a journa be allowed freerange in any organisation,most corporations never — Green syndicalist
  27. Does"freelance organiser"represent NUJmembers or bosses?, this makesNUJ look bad — Green syndicalist
  28. If you're not with us, you're against us? — a
  29. Doesn't anyone read before commenting? — abc
  30. It's embarrassing — journos ego
  31. RE It's embarrassing — Cold Stomper
  32. Er, yes, abc — a
  33. Recent call to remove NUJ president — CH
  34. I tell you what.... — Troll
  35. Shooting yourself in the foot — Donnacha DeLong
  36. Kill the messenger — muppet
  37. Is this thread still going — nickon


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