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Photographers condemn News UK's attempts to force new contracts on freelancers

Unions demands Murdoch's business ‘rescind the deeply inequitable contracts’ that will ‘strip photographers of most of their rights’

JOURNALISTS have condemned Rupert Murdoch’s News UK as it attempts to enforce new contracts on freelance photographers that will deprive them of much of their income.

The publisher of The Times, Sunday Times and The Sun wants to introduce a single fee when it commissions photographers to carry out an assignment, stripping them of any reproduction rights.

Both the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) and the British Press Photographers’ Association (BPPA) oppose the move.

Freelance photographers can currently claim a reproduction fee if their work is re-used – some iconic photos are used repeatedly.

Under the new contracts News UK will also take over photographers’ rights to sell their photos for use by other organisations.

The company has told photographers to sign the new contracts by early October.

The NUJ and BPPA are calling on News UK “to rescind this deeply inequitable contract and urgently work with representative bodies to develop more acceptable terms and conditions.”

NUJ photographers’ council chairwoman Natasha Hirst said: “This disgraceful contract is wholly unacceptable and has no place in our industry. 

“It is completely exploitative, strips photographers of most of their rights and will leave them much worse off.

“Why a news organisation feels it needs to give photographers, most of whom have struggled to work because of Covid-19, this sort of kicking beggars belief. 

“We call on photographers and professional bodies to join us in condemning the new contract, and the union is now writing to News UK to call for talks on the contract’s conditions.”

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