Thursday, 14 February 2013

NUJ boycotts editors' code consultation over snub

Stanistreet: 'Lord Hunt conspiring in secret'
The NUJ is boycotting a consultation on the editors' code of practice, chaired by Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre, after claiming it has being excluded from newspaper industry talks on what might replace the Press Complaints Commission following the Leveson Report.

The union says it will be boycotting the code of conduct consultation, which has been extended to 17 April, unless the union is made a member of the code committee.

A core participant of the Leveson Inquiry, the |NUJ claims it has been excluded from meetings and consultations by industry bodies and those convened by Lord Hunt, chairman of the Press Complaints Commission.

At the Leveson inquiry, the NUJ argued for a "conscience clause" to be included in journalists' contracts which would prevent them from being fired for refusing to act unethically in pursuit of a story.

Michelle Stanistreet (top), NUJ general secretary, said: "Despite Lord Leveson's damning criticism of the Press Complaints Commission, the Prime Minister is allowing Lord Hunt to conspire in secret with the same cronies – the proprietors and the editors of the national press.

"All negotiations now appear to be behind closed doors, with no consultation with organisations such as the NUJ, which represents media workers, nor bodies representing the public. Already the response to the inquiry appears to be a stitch up, with David Cameron doing the bidding of the national press editors and owners.

"In his recommendations Lord Leveson said 'greater transparency about meetings and contacts should be considered not just as a future project but as an immediate need, not least in relation to interactions relevant to any consideration of this report'. Are his words being ignored so soon?"

The NUJ has condemned the Conservative Party’s attempt to introduce the Leveson recommendations on press regulation through a Royal Charter as "pointless and doomed to failure".

Professor Chris Frost, chair of the NUJ’s Ethics Council, said: “The Conservative Party has turned the Prime Minister’s promises on their head in order to appease his friends in big business. David Cameron has completely ignored the key recommendations made by Leveson and, in doing so, has failed the victims of phone hacking, failed thousands of working journalists who are doing an important job incredibly well and deserve the support of a true regulator and failed the general public who deserve a press in which they can have some trust.”

Pic: Jon Slattery

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