CIoJ Press releases

Statutory regulation of the press should be avoided

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NEWS RELEASE

RELEASE TIME: 6 November 2012

Statutory regulation of the Press would threaten freedom of speech, the CIoJ has warned.

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In the month that Lord Justice Leveson’s inquiry on phone hacking is due to be published, the CIoJ has re-affirmed its position against any form of state regulation. It strongly believes that the existing legislation on privacy, confidentiality of communications and harassment are quite capable of providing public protection and dealing with any illegality in the Press.

President of the Institute, Norman Bartlett said: “There is an enormous threat to freedom of speech by the type of Press legislation that has been spoken of in some quarters. This is the main reason why the CIoJ resists such moves.”

And he reminded: “The worry is that a tiny group of law breakers and the police not doing their job may lead to a death knell for the rest of the media. The CIoJ would remind both politicians and the public that without journalists this story would have remained hidden as would countless others.”

In its submission to the Leveson inquiry, the CIoJ stated that there was clearly a need for the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) to be overhauled and to be given increased powers, but any statutory involvement should be avoided at all costs.

The CIoJ shares the view of many parliamentarians that placing the freedom of the press under the eye of a statutory authority is a threat to democracy.

The CIoJ’s full submission to the inquiry can be found here .

 

Ends

 

CIoJ AGM expresses confidence in BBC newsgathering

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NEWS RELEASE

RELEASE TIME: 5 November 2012

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In the wake of the Savile scandal, the Chartered Institute of Journalists has supported the corporation’s integrity as a newsgatherer.

An emergency motion passed by the Institute’s annual meeting in London on Saturday [Oct 27] said: “This conference has full confidence in the integrity of the newsgathering and journalistic activity of the BBC.”

It was moved by the chairman of the Institute’s broadcasting division, Paul Leighton, a former BBC newsreader.

Leighton said that the actions of BBC management in blocking the Newsnight investigation in Savile should not reflect on the journalists working on the programme, who would have been frustrated by the bosses’ action.

Ends

 

Dave McCormack to give talk to CIoJ members at 2012 AGM

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Dave McCormack is the Director of Content & Delivery with Made Television

Having received a B.A in Economics and Politics in 2001, Dave went on to study for aH.Dip in Journalism & Media Communications which he was awarded in 2006. In 2007, Dave joined City Channel Television as a scheduling assistant. By 2008 he was made Head of Broadcast for the City Channel Network and in this position was primarily responsible for programme planning, presentation and quality control for 4 separate local channels.

In 2008 he was instrumental in the launch of City Channel News, a new service of hourly five minute bulletins running from five to ten p.m. each weeknight with a review programme at weekends.

In early 2010 Dave left City Channel Television to join Jamie Conway at Made Television (formerly Element TV) as Operations Manager. For the last two and a half years Dave has worked towards lobbying for a new local TV framework, developing the operational model for Made Television programming and the preparation and submission of 11 local TV applications.

Made TV have been successful in Bristol and Cardiff, unfortunately missed out on Belfast and are awaiting the results of applications in 8 remaining cities.

 

Sir Alastair Burnet Memorial Service

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The face of ITN’s News at Ten,  Sir Alastair Burnet, will have his memorial service  on 12 November 2012 at St Martin-in-the-Fields church, Trafalgar Square, London.

A former member of the Chartered Institute of Journalists, (CIoJ) Sir Alastair guided the public in his calm authorative way through  some of the most defining events of our lifetime.

Always a man of warmth and intelligence, he had a steel like persuasion which established the daily half hour news bulletin as the normal in broadcasting. He also  transformed the fortunes when as editor of The Economist he used his well-honed skills to make complex messages accessible to everyone.

The memorial service will take place at 3pm followed by a reception in St Martin’s Hall. Former colleagues and friends who wish to attend should contact Head Office on 020 7252 1187.

 

Journalists killed in the line of duty remembered

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Two years ago the Sunday Times foreign correspondent Marie Colvin described her work as a foreign correspondent as ‘a hard calling’.

On October 22 this year we were back in the warm clasp of St Bride’s, Fleet Street – the journalist’s church – to remember the reporters, camera crews and support staff killed in the line of duty. Sadly, Marie Colvin was one of those tragic names.

A special Page, in the St Bride’s memorial book, was unveiled as a lasting tribute to Marie by the Duchess of Cornwall, followed by prayers for the 50 journalists worldwide killed this year bringing news from war zones and other trouble spots to the news pages, TV screens and radios in our living rooms.

Readings for the service were warmly delivered by James Hardy, Editor of The Times, Hugh Whittow, Editor of the Daily Express, Peter Preston, former Editor of the Guardian, and Kevin Beatty, Chief Executive of A&N Media, which owns the Northcliffe titles including the Daily Mail.

The night was particularly moving for the people who had worked with Marie and many openly wept to the choir’s moving renditions of Where have all the flowers gone? and Bridge over Troubled Waters.

On an evening shared with Panoroma’s programme about the dropping of Newsnight’s investigation into Jimmy Savile, it was certainly a poignant reminder of the true sacrifice of campaigning journalists.

Funeral Service and Reception to Commemorate the Life of Christopher John Underwood.

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The Funeral Service and Committal will take place at Randall’s Park Crematorium at 11.45am on Monday 17th September.

In keeping with Chris’s wishes, the service will be conducted by a Humanist Celebrant. As we want the reception afterwards to be a celebration of Chris’s life, we are keen that people take this opportunity to share their memories of their time with him.

The Reception will be held at Woodlands Park Hotel, which is a three minute drive from the Crematorium. Further details about how to get to the Crematorium and hotel are shown below:

Leatherhead Crematorium: the address of the Crematorium is Randalls Road, Leatherhead, Surrey, KT22 OAG

Parking: There are 93 parking spaces available (3 disabled) at the Crematorium, so it would be really helpful if you could share your car with someone.

Directions from M25 Motorway: Leave the M25 at Junction 9 and follow the A245 on to Randalls Road.

Directions from Leatherhead Train Station: the train station is approximately 0.8 miles from the Crematorium. Exit the station and head south on to Station Approach. Station Approach leads directly on to Randalls Road. Head west on to Randalls Road in the direction of the Crematorium.

Woodlands Park Hotel:

The hotel is approximately 1.3 miles from the Crematorium. Follow the road out of the Crematorium and turn left on to Randalls Road (A245). Follow Randalls Road north. The road bears left on to Woodlands Lane and the hotel is on the left hand side.

Flowers and Donations:

Family flowers only. Donations, if desired, to Cancer Research c/o F W Chitty & Co., New Zealand Avenue, Walton on Thames, KT12 1QD

Attire:

We want you to wear whatever you consider is appropriate to the occasion, but please don’t feel obliged to wear black. We wish the occasion to be as informed as possible, so would want you to wear whatever you feel comfortable in.

RSVP

For catering purposes it would be really helpful if you could RSVP to either Mark or Mary at the following email addresses:

mjdunderwood@gmail.com

maryhoneyball@gmail.com

New laws to clamp down on council-run newspapers

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NEWS RELEASE

3 SEPTEMBER 2012: Release time immediate

The Government has announced new laws on the publication of council-owned newspapers, following representations by the Chartered Institute of Journalists.

Local Government Minister Bob Neill MP has written to the CIoJ pledging to put compliance with the Publicity Code on a statutory basis. At present the code is only voluntary and many local authorities have been ignoring the guidelines and publishing more frequently than the allowed four times a year. When the changes come into force next year, councils will be obliged by law to comply with the code.

Mr Neill was responding to a report sent to him by the CIoJ about the effects of council newspapers on the local newspaper industry. The report formed part of the evidence submitted by the Institute to an all-party Parliamentary group looking into the crisis in local newspapers.

Amanda Brodie, chairman of the Institute’s Professional Practices Board, who gave evidence to the group at Westminster recently, said: “We are delighted that the Government is to put the code on the statute book, which will mean that councils can no longer ignore it.

“The CIoJ has been campaigning on this issue for a long time. We have watched in anger as council after council has flouted the guidelines which were put forward to protect our flagging local newspaper industry from Council Tax-payer subsidised attacks on their advertising revenue and circulation.

“Most of these so-called newspapers are full of council propaganda, and it is high time they were reined in.”

Mr Neill told the Institute in his letter: “The Government agrees that local newspapers have a vital role to play in providing the public with the information they need to hold their council to account.

“Last year we strengthened the code by restricting the frequency of publications to ensure local newspapers were not facing unfair competition from council newspapers. However, we are aware that a few councils continue to publish newspapers more frequently than this. We are therefore going to legislate to put compliance with the code on a statutory basis.”

ENDS

 

Notes to Editors

1. On July 4 the CIoJ gave evidence on this subject at an all-party parliamentary group meeting, arranged by Carmarthen East and Dinefwr MP, Jonathan Edwards. The Institute’s statement to the APPG can be found here.

2. 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.

 

CIoJ join Plaid Cymru MPs in defence of local newspapers

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NEWS RELEASE

5 July 2012

The Chartered Institute of Journalists this week made an impassioned plea to MPs over the future of local newspapers

Giving evidence at an all-party parliamentary group meeting called by Plaid Cymru MP Jonathan Edwards, the CIoJ pointed out that 20 per cent of the UK’s 1,100 local newspapers have closed in the last seven years – more than 240 titles – and it was time MPs supported local newspapers.

CIoJ Professional Practices Board Chairman, Amanda Brodie, told MPs: “This is not just a question of journalists losing their jobs. If we lose our local papers, it will be a loss for the community, a loss for society and ultimately a loss for democracy.

“Democracy is not only the right to vote, but the right to know. Our councils and courts need to be covered, authority needs to be challenged, press offices need to be bypassed – this cannot be left to so-called citizen journalists.”

The reasons for the decline were varied but one factor has been poor management at senior level, with decisions too often being taken by people with no real experience of journalism.

She told the Westminster group: “These managers see qualified journalists and investigative journalism as an unnecessary expense. They are using the economic situation as an excuse to take a filleting knife to our newsrooms. They are systematically denuding our local papers of the very people the industry vitally needs. “

But the CIoJ also saw hope for the future by supporting Mr Edward’s campaign to get local newspapers designated as community assets, through an amendment to the Localism Act 2011.

Outlining some suggestions, Ms Brodie told MPs: “Local newspapers are the training grounds for the top-flight national journalists of the future. Their duty to educate, inform, entertain and campaign, sits well with a possible approach to give them charitable status.”

The CIoJ considers approving future newspaper merger proposals should be strengthened by requiring the taking-over group to provide a statement of intent incorporating guarantees for the maintenance of the taken-over titles and that any future departure from this pledge should require legal consent.

Ms Brodie added: “The Chartered Institute of Journalists has campaigned long and hard on many of these issues. But we now call on people in government to act, because, without your support, self-interest will prevail and our local newspapers will be lost.”

Notes to Editors:-

  1. Current legislation requires certain statutory notices, made by local authorities and the Welsh Government, to be advertised in local newspapers. However the Labour Welsh Government has proposed changes which allow authorities to bypass the requirement to use local newspapers. The consultation closed in February 2012 but details can be seen online http://wales.gov.uk/docs/det/consultation/120629regsumresponsesenv1.pdf
  2. In 2009/10 CIoJ successfully campaigned to stop recommended proposals which would have seen the Scottish Parliament’s statutory advertising removed from local newspapers and solely placed online.
  3. The meeting was chaired by Camarthen East and Dinefwr MP Jonathan Edwards who is concerned about the state of Welsh newspapers and is campaigning to get Westminster MPs to agree to amend the Localism Act 2011. This would lead to newspapers being designated as ‘community assets’ and would give them some measure of protection in the event of threatened closure.
  4. The Institute’s statement to the APPG can be found here.
  5. CIoJ support for threat of legal challenge to town hall “Pravdas”

CIoJ support for threat of legal challenge to town hall “Pravdas”

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The Chartered Institute of Journalists (CIoJ) has written to support Communities Secretary Eric Pickles in his latest crackdown on ‘Town Hall Pravdas’.

Speaking on BBC London this week, Mr Pickles vowed to introduce legislation to challenge local authorities which fail to comply with a formal code of practice on publicity.

His views correspond with considerable campaigning by the CIoJ who warn that taxpayer-funded council newspapers are eroding local democracy.

“Local and regional newspapers have traditionally been the place where councils get put under the microscope and where the issues councillors are less keen to shout about get covered,” said Dominic Cooper, the CIoJ’s General Secretary.

“It is grossly unfair to use taxpayers’ money to produce these publications which are no more than propaganda sheets.

“Even council newspapers which claim to be self-funding do that by taking advertising away from local newspapers. Is there sufficient scrutiny when businesses advertise in local authority newspapers and then with their other hand seek planning consent or challenge their licensing conditions?

“Councils need to focus on providing great schools, warm and secure housing and roads which are fit for pedestrians, cars and cycles and not be distracted by million pound propaganda sheets.”

End

 

Notes to editors:

Only two days ago (July 4) the CIoJ gave evidence on this subject at an all-party parliamentary group meeting, arranged by Carmarthen East and Dinefwr MP, Jonathan Edwards.  The Institute’s statement to the APPG can be found here.

CIoJ statement to all party parliamentary group on crisis in local newspapers

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EVIDENCE GIVEN TO APPG ON CRISIS IN LOCAL NEWSPAPERS – 4 July 2012

The Chartered Institute of Journalists welcomes the opportunity to give evidence to this group.

We are a non-party political membership organisation representing the interests of journalists and media workers both in the UK and abroad. We also have a trade union arm which supports members through workplace disputes and tribunals.

THE PROBLEM

The demise of local newspapers is something the Institute has been campaigning on hard for some considerable time. Many of our members have been in the industry for upwards of 30 years, and none of us can recall a time of greater job losses and title contraction.

Twenty per cent of the UK’s 1,100 local newspapers have closed in the last seven years, that’s more than 240 titles. This is arguably the greatest crisis ever to hit our profession. It is a silent cancer which will have far-reaching effects long after Lord Justice Leveson has put down his pen.

Johnston Press has announced that its present 2,000 employed journalists jobs will be cut by half by 2020, when content will be produced 50/50 by journalists and ‘community contributors.’

But this is not just a question of journalists losing their jobs. If we lose our local papers, it will be a loss for the community, a loss for society and ultimately a loss for democracy. Democracy is not only the right to vote, but the right to know. Our councils and courts need to be covered, authority needs to be challenged, press offices need to be bypassed – this cannot be left to so-called ‘citizen journalists.’

Both the Local Government Association and the Magistrates Association have expressed concern that local courts and councils are no longer being covered properly by their local papers. This is because they simply do not have the qualified staff to do these jobs.

In the past our industry has relied on its journalists and the quality of its editorial content to pull it through the difficulties. But this requires experienced journalists to provide the content which newspapers need, to maintain the trust and loyalty of their readers.

Little doubt, then, that local newspapers are under attack as never before. The reasons for this are many, but main factors include:

  • Fall in advertising revenues due to the economic situation
  • The rise in use of the internet with a resultant expectation of free content and a migration of ad revenue from print to net
  • The advent of local authority newspapers, who are using tax-payers money to fund publications which take ad revenue away from local newspapers and affect their circulation. Many have been flouting Govt guidelines on the frequency and type of publication. At the Chartered Institute of Journalists, we have been campaigning on this issue too.
  • The merging of many local independent newspapers into big newspaper groups, resulting in cost-cutting on an unprecedented scale. Often this is a result of the desire to return higher dividends to shareholders, or to pay off huge debts accumulated by mass-buying of titles
  • Poor management at senior level, with decisions too often being taken by people with no real experience of journalism. These managers see qualified journalists and investigative journalism as an unnecessary expense. They are using the economic situation as an excuse to take a filleting knife to our newsrooms. They are systematically denuding our local papers of the very people the industry vitally needs.

There is an important distinction to be made between local and national newspapers. Local journalists are much more likely to adhere to a code of conduct, because they live in the communities in which they work, and are accountable to them in a way which the national papers are not. Local papers are not just in the community, they are part of it. It should be remembered too that many older people or low-income families cannot afford access to the internet and rely on their local media to be kept informed.

GOING FORWARD – SOME SUGGESTIONS

Local newspapers are the training grounds for the top-flight national journalists of the future. Their duty to educate, inform, entertain and campaign, sits well with a possible approach to give them charitable status, providing they can demonstrate a genuine commitment to their community as well as fulfilling an educational role.

Major groups proposing to reduce publication frequency or title closure, should first be required to offer those titles for sale at a fair market price for possible purchase, for example by a locally-formed consortium, to take over the title. In that situation, Government would have to provide some funding by means of loans, and in some circumstances grants, as a means of returning a local paper to its locality under local ownership and management.

One example of this has already come from journalists made redundant when the Scarborough Evening News went weekly last month – they are to help launch a new title for the town. The three-day-a-week Scarborough Voice will be launched in September. It will sell for a quarter of the price that Johnston Press are charging for their evening-turned-weekly paper.

It is worth noting that those newspapers which are still independently owned and operated are not saddled with huge, crippling debts. They may be experiencing some difficulties, but not as severe as those of the larger groups, nor have they dispensed with their main stock-in-trade – their journalists and quality editorial content.

One example of this is the South London Press, which in the last month has been split into a series of hyper-local titles and overall circulation has increased by 35 per cent in one week. This shows that if you give readers what they want, they will still buy.

In the light of what is happening in the major publishing groups, we feel that the conditions for approving future newspaper merger proposals should be strengthened by requiring the taking-over group to provide a statement of intent incorporating guarantees for the maintenance of the taken-over titles and that any future departure from this pledge should require the permission of the Government for the change to be made.

As things stand, a newspaper can be taken over one year and closed down the next, without anyone being able to do anything about it.

The Chartered Institute of Journalists feels this is a massive betrayal of both the journalists and their readership, for a purpose which only benefits the publisher.

We support Jonathan Edwards’ call for local papers to be designated community assets under the provisions of the Localism Act 2011.

The Chartered Institute of Journalists has campaigned long and hard on many of these issues. But we now call on people in government like yourselves to act, because without your support, self-interest will prevail, and our local newspapers will be lost.

We ask you to do your utmost to ensure that quality local newspapers do survive, so they may continue to provide a valued service to their communities, well into the future.

ENDS