National news agency wins legal battle to stop 'citizen journalists' obtaining 'fake' press cards

Britain’s national news agency wins legal battle to stop ‘citizen journalists’ obtaining ‘fake’ press cards in its name to use as ‘instruments of deception’

  • The PA has obtained a High Court injunction to stop ‘fake cards’ being issued
  • Barrister described theWorkers of England Union’s press cards as ‘a fake ID’
  • WEU has agreed to write to members who had bought a card to return them

The national news agency for the UK and Ireland has obtained a High Court injunction to stop “fake” press cards being issued in its name to “citizen journalists”.

The PA news agency – established in 1868 as the Press Association – took legal action against the Workers of England Union (WEU), which was charging members 120 for an ID card claiming the holder was a member of “the English Press Association”.

Describing them as instruments of deception, the PA’s barrister David Ivison told a High Court hearing today the WEU’s press cards are “essentially a ‘fake ID’… which already seem to be sowing confusion among the public”.

The PAhas obtained a High Court injunction to stop "fake" press cards being issued in its name

The PAhas obtained a High Court injunction to stop “fake” press cards being issued in its name

He said the WEU was “perfectly at liberty to provide journalism-related services under a name which does not infringe upon the claimant’s rights”, adding: “They simply need to adopt a different name.”

Mr Ivison argued that the WEU’s cards, which had been purchased by 17 of the union’s members, risked causing “serious harm to PA and its reputation”.

He told the court: “The only effective way to address this risk is for the cards to be removed from circulation.”

Robin Tilbrook, the chairman of the WEU who represented the union in court, said the cards were not “intended in any way to hang off the coat-tails, or anything like that, of the Press Association”.

After a short break, Mr Justice Meade was told the WEU had agreed to an interim injunction to not use the words “Press Association” or “English Press Association” in relation to “any trade union, journalism, or news reporting services”.

The WEU also agreed to write to members who had bought its press cards asking for them to be returned.

The court heard the WEU is considering using the name “English Media Group” instead.

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