Wednesday 25 November 2009

Mark Watts hits back at NUJ general secretary

Defeated Journalist candidate Mark Watts is continuing his campaign against the NUJ Left with a new broadside today in which he calls on NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear to "make clear his own postion" on the group.
Watts writing on his FOIA website says: "Many tricky issues about the state of journalism in Britain today need to be addressed by the National Union of Journalists. But before the NUJ can tackle these urgent problems with credibility, its general secretary, Jeremy Dear, has to deal with the far-left faction seeking to take over the union."
Watts claims "Most journalists have shared my astonishment at the threat to the union posed by this faction, “NUJ Left”. However, the “NUJ Left” gang deployed a version of the scientologists’ “fair-game” strategy in which anyone who dares to criticise them are treated with an array of hysterical smears."
Watts has also taken the opportunity to hit back at NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear who in a post-Journalist election comment on his blog criticised Watts for his attack on rival candidate Rich Simcox, who was supported by NUJ Left.
Dear wrote: "I am angry at the way Richard Simcox was attacked and the union's reputation rubbished by Mark Watts. Richard didn't deserve that.”
But Watts says of Dear: "He is simply wrong to say that I attacked Simcox and rubbished the union’s reputation. I did attack “NUJ Left” for fielding candidates in this and other NUJ elections without their declaring political affiliations."
He adds: "Dear said nothing about the outrageous smear campaigns mounted against me by several “NUJ Left” members and cheerleaders."
Watts concludes: “I call on our general secretary and deputy general secretary to condemn publicly the stated aims of ‘NUJ Left’. I understand that Dear is in a tricky spot. He needs to make clear his own position on “NUJ Left”. And then perhaps he will be able to focus on leading the NUJ to tackle the serious issues that arise from the parlous state of journalism in Britain."

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