NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet has blasted a suggestion by Labour shadow culture minister Ivan Lewis that journalists should be "struck off" for bad behaviour - raising the possibility of journalists being licensed by the state.
Stanistreet responded: “It’s depressing to hear a Labour Party shadow minister call for the blacklisting of journalists. Ivan Lewis told Labour Party conference today that journalists found guilty of ‘gross malpractice’ should be struck off.
"He has since back-peddled, claiming not to approve of state meddling in press freedom but that’s precisely what his ridiculous statement amounts to.
"Is he actually calling for a state-approved register of journalists, one where politicians or media owners can strike through names at their will?
"At the heart of the NUJ is our ethical Code of Conduct. Let’s not forget that the NUJ has been locked out of Murdoch’s Fortress Wapping for decades. There’s a direct parallel between union-busting at News International and the moral vacuum that’s been allowed to proliferate – a culture that’s been led from those at the top.
"Yet it’s ordinary working journalists who are being sacrificed and whose livelihoods have been destroyed whilst those at the top of News International enjoy impunity.
“And politicians must remember that they, more than anyone, indulged the worst excesses of Rupert Murdoch. This is the time to right the wrongs of the past, to raise standards across the industry and, crucially, to tackle the widespread problems of media ownership in the UK. Journalists and press freedom absolutely must not be scapegoated in the search for higher standards or for the sake of political soundbites.”
Pic: Michelle Stanistreet (Jon Slattery)