Monday 12 April 2010

Make your vote count NUJ urges members

The NUJ has entered the General Election fray by coming up with a series of pledges designed, it says, to help the union's members assess candidates' readiness to support journalists and the media industry effectively. The union says it  has asked parliamentary candidates to pledge that they will:
  • work to ensure that the future of public service broadcasting, including local news – at the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Five is properly resourced, maintaining and strengthening investment in quality programmes, that there are no further funding cuts for the BBC and to oppose the privatisation of Channel 4.
  • work to support legislation introducing the default recognition of moral rights for all freelance journalists
  • work to strengthen self-regulation of the press, including making press standards a major remit of the work of the Press Complaints Commission, widening its membership beyond a narrow band of media proprietors 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 and to 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
Through its ‘Make Your Vote Count ’ campaign the union will collate and publish candidates’ responses to the pledges "helping union members and anyone else with a keen interest in the media industry to make a more informed voting choice at the election." Members are also being urged to organise constituency-wide ‘Media Debates’, inviting candidates to state their position on the issues facing the industry and dealing with questions from journalists and the wider public, face-to-face.

NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear said: “With journalists facing attacks on jobs, pay and media freedoms, our campaign gives us an opportunity to raise the profile of the issues our members face. Members can hold candidates to account before the election in a way that has become almost impossible in an age of stage-managed news conferences and pre-scripted soundbites.”

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