Journalist sues police over ‘leftwing extremist’ claims

A journalist has launched legal action against the after they secretly labelled him a leftwing extremist who could disrupt the Labour party conference.

Police refused to give Michael Segalov security clearance to attend last year’s Labour conference.

Legal papers disclose that police drew on confidential intelligence files to allege that Segalov had demonstrated an increased willingness to take part in protests that involved breaking the law – a claim he rejects.

The papers also show that police conceded they did not have any information to show that he had committed any criminal acts. The 24-year-old has never been arrested.

Segalov, who has written opinion columns for the Guardian and other outlets, appears on television commenting on politics and works as an editor for a cultural magazine, Huck. He has attended many Labour events, both as a journalist and a member of the party. He has interviewed senior politicians including the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn.

He said: “This is an important case to determine how the press can operate freely. To be labelled an extremist for carrying out my work as a journalist is incredibly distressing”.

Last September, police refused to approve his application to be an accredited reporter at the Labour party conference in Brighton, saying he had not passed the security checks that are required for the .

Segalov says that this hindered him from doing his job as a journalist, which included interviewing politicians and researching stories – a claim denied by the police.

At the time, police refused to explain why he had been turned down. However they have been compelled to disclose their reasons after he filed a legal claim at the high court alleging that the refusal was unlawful. A hearing is due to be held on Wednesday.

In their defence, police claimed that intelligence “established that Segalov was a known extreme activist who had taken part in demonstrations in relation to a wide range of issues.”



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