BBC journalist, Nick Watt, was chased and intimidated in London yesterday (Monday 14th June), as seen in a viral video clip.
The ‘disturbing footage’ surfaced on Twitter.
Who is Nick Watt?
Nicholas ‘Nick’ Watt is the political editor of BBC current affairs show Newsnight. Watt has occupied this position since 2016 – though prior, he has worked with The Times, The Guardian, and The Observer.
What happened to Watt in London?
On Monday (14th June), Nick Watt was hounded by anti-lockdown protesters. Chased on the streets of London, the viral video hears protestors chant “traitor” and “scum” as large groups follow the BBC journalist.
The clip sees the harassers shout directly to Watt’s face, impeding on his personal space to the point that Watt turns the other way and sprints back to safety.
Following on from this, one protester can be heard yelling: “Why have you reported that lockdowns are legal? How can it be legal to lock people in their houses?”
Thankfully, Watt was able to return behind the gates of Downing Street to avoid further harassment. Due to the protest, the Downing Streets were securely guarded and Watt left the matter relatively unscathed.
Industry professionals react to harassment incident
A wealth of industry professionals and those close to Nick Watt took to social media to react to the protestor chase.
Newsnight editor, Esme Wren, wrote: “Harassing and intimidating any journalist is completely unacceptable. All journalists should be able to do their work without impediment or risking their safety #newsnight“
Likewise, Former Newsnight deputy editor, Jess Brammar, tweeted: “The video of Nick Watt being chased and abused by a mob is absolutely horrifying – am torn about RTing it as it’s upsetting and I don’t know how Nick feels about it, but huge solidarity with him. It’s disgusting, he’s doing his job. I know the BBC will be rightly furious about it.”
Press freedom campaigner, Rebecca Vincent, added: “Appalling, thuggish behaviour by anti-lockdown protesters towards BBC Newsnight political editor Nick Watt. This isn’t protest; it’s harassment & possibly assault (given Covid risk). Journalists must be able to do their jobs safely. The UK must do better.”
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