Tuesday 10 February 2009

NUJ backs report which bashed PCC and warned cuts are hurting editorial quality

The NUJ has welcomed yesterday's Media Standards Trust report which was highly critical of the Press Complaints Commission and warned of the impact cutbacks were having on journalism standards.
It was claimed by the MST that “standards of accuracy and responsibility are falling faster than ever in an increasingly desperate financial atmosphere, and with them the respect of both public and government.”
The NUJ said, in a statement, the MST report "echoes the NUJ’s argument that cuts in newsroom staffing and spending is having a catastrophic effect on journalism. In particular the reduction in the numbers of sub-editors has led to greater pressures and a rising level of inaccuracy in the press."
NUJ general secretary, Jeremy Dear, said: “For years we’ve been highlighting the impact on our profession of cutbacks that are all about the pursuit of big profits. Our members are fed up with the frustration of not having the time they need to do their jobs. They take great pride in their work so it hurts when management cuts undermine the job they do.
“Self-regulation can work, but the current model isn’t up to the task. As a first step the government could bring the PCC under the auspices of the Freedom of Information Act so that at least some of its workings are put under greater public scrutiny.”
The NUJ has argued that a "conscience clause" should be added to the Code of Practice, which underpins the work of the PCC, so that journalists could claim unfair dismissal if sacked by a newspaper for refusing to act in an unethical way. The union also wants papers fined if the PCC finds they have breached the Code.

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