Thursday, 6 May 2010

Conservatives snub NUJ election pledge plea

More than 150 candidates in today's general election have endorsed the NUJ's election pledge - but not one comes from the Conservative Party, the union says.

The "pledge" commits candidates, if elected, to:
  • Work to ensure that the future of public service broadcasting, including local news – at the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Five is properly resourced. Resist funding cuts at the BBC and privatisation of Channel 4.
  • Work to support legislation introducing the default recognition of moral rights for all freelance journalists.
  • Work to make press standards a major remit of the Press Complaints Commission, widening its membership and supporting the introduction of a "conscience clause" for journalists.
  • Work to support strengthened Freedom of Information legislation.
  • Work to ensure anti-terror and privacy legislation does not adversely impact on the rights of journalists and photographers.
  • Ensure that the recent European Court of Human Rights decision, ruling the stop-and-search powers under section 44 of the Act illegal, is recognised and upheld by the incoming government.
The NUJ says: "The positive response to letters from the NUJ to candidates covered much of the political spectrum. But no Conservative candidate gave unequivocal support to the pledge."
NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear said: "The NUJ is committed to working with the next government, whatever its political colour. However, the fact that not a single Conservative candidate is able to commit themselves to our election pledge will cause NUJ members concern."

  • Mind you the NUJ may be able to count on one top Tory for support, according to a picture by Donald Stewart published in the People in March. It shows Conservative shadow education secretary Michael Gove, when he was an NUJ member at the Aberdeen Press & Journal in the 1980s, supporting a strike by journalists and cheerfully manning a picket line.

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