Row erupts over amateur photojournalism 'press pass'
Professional journalism bodies have hit out at an amateur ‘press pass’ that has been launched by citizen journalist website Demotix.
The UK Press Card Authority, which issues media credentials to professional newsgatherers such as those working for the BBC, SKY and ITN, branded the Demotix document as ‘hobbyist’.
It warned that the Demotix card does not represent an accredited National Press Card and pledged to alert all UK police forces over its concerns.
The UK Press Card Authority chairman Mike Granatt said: ‘The Demotix “press pass” is nothing of the sort, despite the fact that it is designed to look like a genuine journalists’ identity document.
‘We have worked hard over many years to establish the National Press Card as the ID for professional journalists. It is designed to assure the police and others that the holder is a professional newsgatherer, working full-time to serve the public.
‘Our concern is that the police and third parties might be misled by the Demotix card.’
But Turi Munthe, chief executive of Demotix – which dubs itself the Street Wire - defended the card.
‘Our view has always been that everyone everywhere who is seriously engaged in the news should have right of enquiry,’ he wrote in a blog on the Demotix website.
‘We also believe we make better judges of that “seriousness” than the globe’s police forces or, frankly, bottlenecking trade organisations that decide who gets the right to be a journalist.
‘Of course we will continue to do everything we can to help you report, annoy and photograph precisely those people and events that the powers that be would like to exclude you from.’
Demotix contributors have been told, via email, that they are eligible for a press pass if they have had at least ten of their articles published.
The card reportedly costs $20.