But, one photographer protested, "you can have the most left-wing anti-police member of the press there and they have a right to get their work published as much as the most right-wing."
"We reject entirely his false argument" belittling the NUJ's checking that applicants are in fact newsgatherers who earn their living as journalists, Dear responded concluding the conference: "We will fight not just to keep the window open but to open it wider and let more light in".
Commander Broadhurst promised to reply in writing on further moves to train and inform all officers of the guidelines agreed by the Association of Chief Offices on dealing with the media, and on whether the Met was keeping details of photographers who were themselves photographed by the police.
Members are encouraged to report incidents when they have been hindered - or indeed assisted - by police, via www.londonfreelance.org/policing
On the challenge to the business of earning a living as a professional, veteran David Hoffman noted that there are three ways to survive an avalanche: "You can not be there - you can diversify into other fields. You can dive into a crevice and let it pass over you - specialise in a niche market. But the most fascinating way is to run with the avalanche and go with the flow." That's not easy: "There are plenty of visually illiterate people buying pictures," Hoffman said, "and they like pictures like their friends take - professionals may laugh at those pictures, but professionals are rarely buyers."
The 60 members attending the conference session on copyright expressed unanimous opposition to an idea floated by the UK government to deal with "orphaned works". This would deal with works whose authors cannot be identified as if they were abandoned bank accounts - the Treasury would take effective ownership. They also unanimously opposed US proposals that would leave use of orphaned works illegal but effectively to prevent any parents of the alleged "orphan" suing.
"From the protest at Kings north power station to the Israeli embassy, from the Greek embassy to the City of London," Dear concluded, "the NUJ has made the treatment of our members a key political priority."
- The conference took place at London University's Institute of Education on 18 May 2009.
- A very complete report is available to members only - contact the Freelance Office