Police to seize media film of Dale Farm row

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Police will today try to force news broadcasters and documentary-makers to hand over film of the eviction of travellers from the controversial Dale Farm site in Essex, in a move condemned as the latest attack on press freedom.

Journalists working for BBC News, Panorama, My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding are among those facing a production order that covers all footage recorded during the two-day eviction in October. Essex police claim they need help to identify criminals who caused minor injuries to 11 officers.

The Independent has learned that the force is keen to identify activists who wore orange boiler-suits at the eviction. A spokeswoman said: "Footage from [the] media is sought to identify the people responsible for these offences who have sought to conceal their identities."

The order, made under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, has been denounced as a "fishing exercise" which would sever trust between journalists and traveller communities.