A reporter working at The Argus was invited to 10 Downing Street for his commitment to high-quality journalism

Andrew Gardner attended a reception on Monday, October 30, to mark Journalism Matters Week, where Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer announced plans to crack down on mistreatment of reporters, including by police.

Other guests included Newsquest’s chief executive Henry Faure Walker and BBC director general Tim Davie.

Andrew was one of two journalists invited to Number 10 to “recognise their contribution to local journalism in the South East”.

Andrew joined The Argus last year as an apprentice reporter having already had work regularly published in national newspapers after establishing himself as a freelance photographer at the age of 15.

In the course of his work, which includes covering political demonstrations, he has faced abuse and harassment, including being spat on and assaulted.

The reception at Number 10 heard details of a “national action plan” to protect journalists like Andrew, who are targeted simply for doing their jobs.

The scheme will create a working group where publishers and broadcasters can collaborate on safeguarding efforts, while a new online tool will enable reporters to log abuse they receive.

The plan also includes new training for police on journalists’ right to report on protests, after reporters were wrongly arrested at environmental demonstrations last year.

Charles Thomson, another reporter at Newsquest, which owns The Argus, was invited to the reception and praised for his work investigating the alleged cover-up of a 1980s paedophile ring and a report on a coroner's refusal to hold an inquest into a woman’s death, which resulted in the coroner reversing her decision.

Sir John Whittingdale, minister for media, creative industries and tourism, said: “Local journalists are the watchdogs of our communities, who work tirelessly to shine a spotlight on issues that matter most to people, helping our local democracies to thrive.

“Journalism Matters Week is a time to show our appreciation for people like Charles and Andrew, who have made a real difference through their work to expose wrongdoing and hold the powerful to account.

“I’m thrilled they have made time to visit Number 10 and I want to give them my sincere thanks for the brilliant reporting they deliver, day in day out, for communities across the South East.”