Dale Farm Eviction
Dale Farm residents erected barricade as defence against eviction Reuters

Media organisations have won a ground-breaking high court battle over police orders, which would have forced them to give up footage of the evictions of residents at the Dale Farm travellers' site.

Broadcasters, including the BBC and BSkyB, do not have to hand over any footage of the evictions to police following the ruling.

The case was sent to the high court after the media organisations appealed a decision against them at crown court.

Mr Justice Eady said that Chelmsford crown court, which ruled that they should have to hand over hours of unaired footage, "failed to give sufficient weight to the inhibiting effect of production orders on the press".

The BBC, Independent Television News, BSkyB, Channel 5, Hardcash Productions and freelance video journalist Jason Parkinson worked in unison to overturn the decision.

Eady said in his judgment: "The interference caused by such orders cannot and should not be dismissed mainly because a small proportion of that which is filmed maybe published.

"The judge should have feared for the loss of trust in those hitherto believed to be neutral observers if such observers maybe too readily compelled to hand over their material.

"It is the neutrality of the press which affords them protection and augments their ability freely to obtain and disseminate visual recording of events."

The footage police wished to view was all shot between 19 and 20 October and is laced with scenes of violence as bailiffs clashed with the Dale Farm community.