CIoJ Press releases

Daily Express Political Editor elected Vice-President

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Monday 11th March : Release time immediate

Macer Hall, Political Editor of the Daily Express, has been elected Vice-President of the Chartered Institute of Journalists.

Hall, aged 40, pledged to preserve the Institute’s “timeless journalistic values of impartiality, independence and freedom of speech” while helping the Institute to adapt to changes in the media and journalistic profession.

A Londoner who undertook his NCTJ training at Highbury College in Portsmouth, he went on to work as a reporter on a variety of regional and national newspapers, including the Cambridge Evening News, the Yorkshire Evening Post and the Sunday Telegraph, as well as the National News Agency and the Today Programme on BBC Radio 4.

“The independence of the Chartered Institute of Journalists is something I cherish”, he said.

Hall will serve two years as Vice-President of the Institute before succeeding to the Presidency in 2009.

John Thorpe MBE, the Institute’s new President, said he was “absolutely delighted that members of the Chartered Institute of Journalists have voted Macer Hall into the Vice-Presidency of the Institute. His insights into the world of Westminster and the national political scene will be of great advantage to the Institute, and I look forward to working with him to deepen the Institute’s influence in the corridors of power.”


HSE backs Institute over safety

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Tuesday 18th December : Release time immediate

Britain’s journalists must be provided with adequate safety equipment when covering dangerous stories, the Health and Safety Executive has ruled.

It means newspaper offices should provide items like hardened hats, stab-proof jackets and even armoured footwear to reporters and photographers – both staff and commissioned freelances – covering riots and other public disturbances, or when going into ‘sink’ estates where their safety may be threatened by unruly elements.

The ruling, given to the Chartered Institute of Journalists, is to be forwarded to the Newspaper Society and the Newspaper Publishers’ Association by the HSE at the request of the Institute.

It is a significant triumph for the Institute which launched a campaign and published a safety precautions brochure called ‘Revolting Britain’ earlier this year. The brochure, which gives advice to those covering stories where violence can be expected, has been widely distributed and some copies are still available from its head office.

The chairman of the Institute’s Professional Practices Board, Robin Morgan, said: “This is a very significant ruling that means journalists must be given as much personal protection as the police and other emergency services are given when they have to cover violent events. The Health and Safety Executive have made it very clear that it is the employer’s responsibility to provide this clothing, not only to their staff but also to freelances whom they commission to cover these events.

Dominic Cooper, the Institute’s general secretary said: “The Institute has been very concerned at the lack of care exhibited by some newspaper proprietors in safeguarding their journalists in dangerous situations. The most protection we have heard of in some offices is the presence of plastic hard hats – usually filched from a local building site.

“But this ruling makes it plain that hardened hats, stab-proof waistcoats and safety footwear have to be provided under the terms of the Health and Safety at Work legislation.

“The riots in Birmingham nearly two years ago demonstrated the potential dangers when several journalists were injured by flying bricks but the whole issue has been studiously ignored by the employers.

“We approached the Newspaper Society earlier this year and were met with supreme indifference. The NPS said frankly that it was not their responsibility to remind their members of their responsibilities in this direction. We hope individual employers will now take a more responsible attitude.”

Mr Morgan said: “We now want to see every newspaper office in the United Kingdom holding a stock of large, medium and small sizes of equipment, ready for use when trouble breaks out. It is part of a journalist’s job, in a democratic society, to report these events from as close to the scene as possible and we don’t want to see injuries sustained because a recalcitrant employer has been too stingy to invest in protective clothing. We are not saying that reporters and photographers have to be clothed like Robocops but good protection can be provided by equipment that looks like conventional attire and does not attract attention.”


Press contact:

Dominic Cooper, tel. 020 7252 1187, email

Chartered Institute of Journalists, 2 Dock Offices, Surrey Quays Road, London SE16 2XU. Website

Notes for Editors:

1. Formed in 1884, the Chartered Institute of Journalists (CIoJ) is the world’s oldest established professional body for journalists, and a representative voice of media and communications professionals throughout the UK and the Commonwealth.


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17th October, 2006.


Over £1,000 was raised in an ad-hoc raffle for a local handicapped children’s home by members of the Chartered Institute of Journalists at their annual conference and AGM in Malta last week.

The Dar il Kaptan (“The Captain’s House”) home exists to give parents of handicapped children a rest by looking after their children for a limited period, anything from a day to a month, although there are a few long term residents also.

One of the guest speakers at the CIOJ conference was the financier and property developer Frank Salt, who is also chairman of Dar il Kaptan. In his address he talked about the children’s home and how it relieved devoted and caring parents by looking after their children for a short while.

Institute members immediately decided to raise money for the home. To encourage them Frank Salt immediately offered to double the amount raised. In the two days left of the conference raffle tickets were sold to the value of £372. This was doubled to £744 by Frank Salt.

Winning numbers were pulled by Sangita Shah, President of the Chartered Institute of Journalists, at the end of dinner at the Casino di Venezia, just outside Valletta, last Thursday evening which was also the last night of the conference.

Two surprise donations increased the total raised to £1,058. One donation was from the director of the casino, Mr. Sandro Bianchi, who gave 100 Maltese lire, which is £157 sterling. The other was from Mrs. Eyrie Price, wife of Institute member David Price, who donated the ML 100 that she won at the casino that evening.

The result was an unexpected gift of over a thousand pounds for the children’s home.

– ENDS –

For further information, please phone or e-mail John Szemerey. Hon. Press Officer for the conference, tel: 00322 687 9016, or



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News release

10th October, 2006

Members of the Chartered Institute of Journalists stood in a minute’s silence this morning (Tuesday, 10th October) in memory of the murdered Russian journalist, Anna Politikovskaya, at the opening of the Institute’s annual general meeting and annual conference in Malta.

Later, members proposed a strong motion deploring the reporter’s murder because the authorities did not like and were embarrassed by her investigative journalism in Chechnya, Beslan and elsewhere.

The motion requests the assistance of the British government, the European Parliament and the European Commission to bring pressure on the Russian Government “to do all it can to bring those responsible to swift justice and to create conditions that enable journalists to work without fear of their lives”.

Considerable anger was expressed at the friendship of British prime minister Tony Blair with Russian president Putin, who it was felt was responsible for the murder. But it was felt that he would have more influence on the Russians than the Russian Ambassador, who probably would not even see the protest if the Institute complained to the Russian embassy.

Ms. Politikovskaya, a distinguished journalist who wrote for the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta, had already been attacked and threatened several times for fearlessly writing what was going on in sensitive parts of Russia. She had been jailed, forced into temporary exile in Austria and poisoned, and militants had tried to break into a car her daughter was driving.

If Russia wished to be taken seriously in the modern world said several members, it would need to treat journalists differently and allow freedom of speech and freedom of the press. The speed with which it caught the perpetrators of this murder would be a good indication as to whether it was ready to be admitted to the civilized world.

– ENDS –

For further information e-mail or phone John Szemerey, tel. +356 2158 3434


Issued on behalf of the Chartered nstitutte of Journalists, London SE16 2XU


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News release

6th October, 2006.

The streets of St. Paul’s Bay will be buzzing with senior British journalists next week. The journos will be attending the annual conference and annual general meeting of the Chartered Institute of Journalists, the senior professional organization for journalists in the world.

The Chartered Institute is returning to Malta after 35 years. It last held its AGM and annual conference in Malta in 1971, the year Britain decided to join the European Community. Its members are mostly senior journalists and experienced media people.

The conference, at the Grand Hotel Mercure San Antonio, St. Paul’s Bay, will be officially opened at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, 10th October, by the Past President of Malta, Prof. Dr. Guido de Marco.

Prof. de Marco is President of the Strickland Foundation which fosters the freedom of journalism and supports the Arts generally. The Foundation is one of the sponsors of the CIOJ conference.



The Chartered Institute holds it annual general meeting abroad every second year to make it easier for members living outside Britain to attend. The last overseas conference, in October 2004, was in Berlin, Germany.

This year’s conference will start with a series of working meetings of the Institute’s council, divisions and charities on Monday, 9th October. The main AGM and conference start on Tuesday, 10th October, and will continue till midday on Thursday, 12th October.

In addition to Prof. de Marco, guest speakers will include the British High Commissioner, Nick Archer, and the Malta Minister for Tourism and Culture, the hon. Francis Zammit Dimech.

The programme includes debates on the safety of journalists in hazardous situations and on ageism in journalism.

A lively social programme has been organized for conference participants by the Malta Tourism Authority, which is also a sponsor of the conference. The programme includes two half days of sightseeing, a tasting of Maltese wines in Valletta and a formal gala dinner at the historic Medina Restaurant in Mdina.

——- ENDS ——–

For further information, phone or e-mail John SZEMEREY or Ken BROOKES Tel: 2158 3434 (at the Grand Hotel Mercure San Antonio)

E-mail: or

Press release issued on behalf of the Chartered Institute of Journalists, London SE16 2XU


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News release

25th September, 2006

Annual conference of Chartered Institute of Journalists

Strong criticisms is expected of proprietors and editors next week for taking unnecessary risks with the lives and safety of staff journalists and photographers.

Members of the Chartered Institute of Journalists will be holding their annual conference and AGM in Malta from 9 – 12 October. The conference – at the Grand Hotel Mercure San Antonio – is open to all members of the Institute. It is not limited to delegates from divisions and branches.

This is the second time that the CIOJ will have held its annual conference in Malta. The last time was in 1971. The Institute, which has many overseas members, alternates AGMs in England one year and overseas the next.

The four-day annual conference includes two formal Annual General Meetings – of the professional body, the Chartered Institute of Journalists, and the trade union Institute of Journalists (TU), which is only for employed members. The first will be chaired by the CIOJ President, Sangita Shah, and the second by Robin Morgan, chairman of the CIOJ Professional Practices Board.

Two half days have been set aside for debating resolutions submitted by divisions, branches or by individual members.

In addition there will be discussions of topics of major interest to journalists. One of these topics is “Personal safety for journalists in hazardous conditions”, to be proposed by the CIOJ’s Brussels representative, John Szemerey, who is also a member of the board of the International News Safety Institute (INSI).

“I want members to realise that dangerous situations are not limited to distant overseas assignments,” says Szemerey. “Terrorist outrages, horrible accidents and demonstrations turning nasty can happen anywhere. For our own safety we must be prepared and know how to react, what to do and what not to do.

“One of our young members had just got off that No. 30 bus that was blown up in Tavistock Square, Lonodon, last year. It can happen to anyone, anywhere.

“Editors and proprietors must be made to realise that it is their responsibility to ensure that their reporting staff (journalists, photographers, etc.) need basic safety training and that they must have safety equipment available, which they can put on if necessary.

“When there is a riot, violence or worse, journalists, news photographers, TV reporters and cameramen will be there to report, photograph or film what is happening. Safety training and safety equipment can make the difference between life and death. “

Members are known to feel strongly that many proprietors and editors are neglecting their responsibility to staff by not preparing them for violent and gruesome events.

The programme also includes receptions and sight-seeing, organised by the Malta Tourism Authority, and a gala dinner at the historic Bacchus Restaurant in the ancient city of Mdina.

Malta Air is the official carrier for the conference, and it offers conference participants a special low return fare to Malta from anywhere on its network.

— ENDS —

For further information, please e-mail John Szemerey, Hon. Press Officer to the CIOJ 2006 Annual Conference and AGM, at:

Or phone or e-mail Dom Cooper, General Secretary of the CIOJ, at 020 7252 1187 or

Institute condemns taxing fashionistas

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News release

Tuesday 11th July 2006 : Release time immediate


The Chartered Institute of Journalists is urging photographers B and editors B to resist paying a ‘picture tax’ after organisers of the London Fashion Week demanded £25 for press passes.

The event’s organisers, have told photographers to ‘send a letter from the commissioning editor/picture editor on company headed paper, a passport photograph and a £25 registration fee payable to British Fashion Council.’

The Institute’s Professional Practices Board has condemned the ‘fashionistas’ move as a ‘dangerous and damaging development that threatens press freedom’ and should be nipped in the bud.

Paul Stewart, the photographic member of the Board, said: “The organisers say this pass will give access to all shows on the official BFC schedule unless stopped by the designer, which is no guarantee of access or facilities.

“Fashion Week is about getting publicity for the designers yet they want to charge us for the privilege of getting them a fortune’s worth of publicity.”

Guilfest is also demanding money by instructing: “To pick up your wristband and press pass you need to register at the Excess Press/Stay Gold Press Point situated at the back of Stage 1. Please print and bring this email with you. As each pass is worth £90 we politely request that you make a donation of £10”

The PPB’s chairman, Robin Morgan, is furious. “This is a very dangerous and damaging development that could threaten the future of press freedom and any self-respecting photographer and his or her editor should resist the attempt to extract cash for covering a news event. Checking bona fides is one thing, but demanding cash is totally out of order. Unfortunately, this money-grabbing, greedy practice is spreading like wild fire and we need to stop it.

“It needs industry-wide action to stop this blackmail – by charging and then having designers choosing who they will and won’t let into their shows is interference in editorial independence and consequently an assault on press freedom.

“We have seen what happened when magazine publishers began to levy ‘colour separation charges’ on PR firms as a fee for using their handouts. This is now so widespread it has become common practice regardless of the item’s news value.

“The Institute will be writing to the organisers of these events asking them to reconsider their position but in the meantime all photographers are urged to resist this insidious development in an effort to safeguard the independence of our profession.”




Press contact: Dominic Cooper, tel. 0207 252 1187, email

Chartered Institute of Journalists (CIoJ), 2 Dock Offices, Surrey Quays Road, London SE16 2XU. Website


Notes for Editors:

Formed in 1884, the Chartered Institute of Journalists (CIoJ) is the world=s oldest established professional body for journalists, and a representative voice of media and communications professionals throughout the UK and the Commonwealth.

Chartered Institute launches new group with Africa focus

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Release time: 27 June 2006

The Chartered Institute of Journalists, the world’s oldest professional body for professional communicators, has launched an Africa Writers’ Group to aid informed commentary on African issues.

Announcing the launch at the Institute’s London Docklands offices, current CIoJ President, Kenyan-born Sangita Shah said: “This initiative will strengthen the Institute’s presence in Africa, as well as providing a co-ordinated voice for African affairs in the UK. We will bring together experienced writers on Africa, together with travel writers, economists, representatives of NGOs and businessmen, and facilitate the visit to Africa of groups of leading journalists who want to find out more about the continent’s development.”

Immediate Past President Stuart Notholt has been appointed to head up the new group. Notholt has over twenty years experience of business, study and work in all parts of the African continent, and will shortly be leading a party of businessmen to Uganda.

“Many members of the Chartered Institute of Journalists, whether they are writers on travel, current affairs or business matters, have a keen interest in Africa,” he said. “Additionally, the Institute has a long tradition of welcoming members from Africa to its membership. The Africa Writers’ Group will provide a forum for these specialists and experts in their various fields to come together.”

Another important theme, says Notholt, is to support the Institute’s on-going work in the field of press safety. “Parts of Africa are among the most dangerous in the world for journalists, whether local or foreign. With the exception of Iraq, more journalists have been killed in Congo in the past five years than in any other country.” The Institute has also been in the forefront of highlighting the suppression of press freedoms in Zimbabwe. In 2003 the Institute awarded British journalism’s highest award the Chartered Institute of Journalists Gold Medal collectively to the independent journalists of Zimbabwe, as a way of highlighting both their courage and the pressures they are under.

“Africa generally gets a bad press,” said Notholt. “Sometimes, of course, this is warranted, but we want to use the Africa Writers’ Group to present a more balanced and informed opinion.”

Full membership of the CIoJ Africa Writers’ Group is available to all members of the Chartered Institute of Journalists. Informal affiliate membership may be available to others working in the field of African development.

– Ends

Institute takes safety issue to the Health and Safety Executive

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News release

Monday 26th June 2006 : Release time immediate

The Chartered Institute of Journalists has asked the Government’s Health and Safety Executive to tackle journalists’ safety by demanding publishers provide safety equipment for reporters and photographers covering stories in potentially violent situations – such as sink estate muggings or soccer riots.

The Institute has, for some time, been concerned about safety, especially where journalists find themselves covering civil disturbances and public order events. In recent times a number of these events have turned violent in an instant and journalists have found themselves targeted by the baying mob.

“Safety training and equipment are essential tools of the trade in the modern environment, ” says Robin Morgan, Chairman of the Institute’s Professional Practices Board. “Employers owe a duty of care to journalists sent to get the stories for their papers, whether they are freelance or staff.”

There are a few good employers who do provide safety training to their journalists, however, there are still a significant number who will not make the commitment without more pressure being applied to convince them of their responsibilities.

The Institute hopes that the HSE will exert its influence to ensure employers are brought to task if they do not have a suitable policy in place to ensure the safety of their employees.

“Hiding behind the employment of a freelance is not an option,” said Barry Beattie, freelance photographer and chairman of the Institute’s Freelance Division. “With the proliferation of knives and even guns on our streets, even making enquiries on an inner city “sink” estate can provoke a violent reaction these days. Employers must make stab proof vests available to photographers/reporters going into dangerous areas.”


Weekend of violence proves need for greater safety awareness training for journalists

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25th October 2005

Attacks on journalists by rioters in Birmingham at the weekend have given the media industry a stark warning that it must take the safety of its journalists seriously and implement training and issue safety equipment as basic requirements, says the Chartered Institute of Journalists.

Journalists have always found themselves targets when covering incidents of public disorder but these situations have become more dangerous in recent times as more and more thugs are beginning to carry knives and bottles.

Recently, efforts have been made to train journalists who are sent to cover conflict zones and their employers are beginning to implement the issuing of safety equipment as standard. However, it is clear from the amount of recent attacks on journalists covering public disorder news stories on the domestic scene, that newspaper proprietors and local broadcast media can no longer ignore the safety of their staff.

At the weekend a number of news crews and journalists were deliberately targeted with one photographer being seriously assaulted by a mob. Only the quick thinking actions of someone nearby stopped his injuries from being more serious.

A recent report by the Association of Chief Police Officers claims that knife attacks in counties that are normally considered as benign rural areas have increased in the last couple of years – such as Lincolnshire (24 per cent) and Devon (41 per cent). The Institute contends that this is worrying proof that violent action is no longer an inner city, or sink estate, problem and journalists throughout the country could find themselves covering public unrest stories without adequate ‘safety first’ training or protective clothing.

At its recent AGM, held on 8 October, members of the Chartered Institute of Journalists urged employers to make safety their top priority when sending journalists to cover public order incidents, and reminded them that to send their staff into dangerous situations without adequate training or protection may be considered to be in contravention of health and safety regulations.

Now is the time to act. Journalists at all levels need to have safety training and safety equipment should be available to all who cover incidents such as those we witnessed at the weekend.