CIoJ Press releases

Riot assaults no surprise

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News Release

8 SEPTEMBER 2011

 

NEWS that journalists have been injured and their lives put at risk while covering the recent riots has angered the Chartered Institute of Journalists (CIoJ).

The Institute has been warning of the dangers for some years and produced its guide to safety “Revolting Britain” in 2005.

General secretary Dominic Cooper said: “It is very frustrating, but sadly no great surprise, that despite urging employers more than five years ago to make safety of their journalists their top priority nothing appears to have been done.

“Employers who send their staff into dangerous situations without adequate training or protection may be considered to be in contravention of health and safety regulations.”

In 2006, after an attack by rioters on journalists in Birmingham, the CIoJ warned: “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.”

Mr Cooper added: “These words now sound chillingly prophetic – as we said years ago, now is the time for publishers to come together to take action to ensure the safety of journalists who have to face this kind of threat.”

Amanda Brodie, chairman of the CIoJ’s Professional Practices Board, added: “Employers need to take the safety of their journalists seriously. Other workers who are put in these situations as part of their work, such as the police and fire crews, receive specific training for the event. They are also supplied with protective clothing, which should be provided as standard to journalists who are sent into potentially life-threatening situations.

“These attacks are only going to increase as baying mobs attempt to stop images being taken. No more time should be lost. Employers need to take action now.”

 

ENDS

 

Note to Editors

• Earlier this week the CIoJ warned that journalists were being put at risk by police action in pressurising the media to hand over footage obtained by them in covering the riots. It urged journalists not to hand over material unless ordered to do so by the courts.

• 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.

 

Riot footage demands put journalists at risk

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NEWS RELEASE
2 SEPTEMBER 2011

DEMANDS by police for media organisations to hand over footage obtained during the recent riots could lead to journalists’ lives being put at risk, says the Chartered Institute of Journalists.

Earlier this week it was reported that numerous newspapers and broadcasters – including The Guardian, The Times, BBC, Sky News and ITN – had been pressured by the Metropolitan Police into handing over pictures and video footage of the disturbances.

The danger is that rioters will see the media as collaborating with the state, and so they will become targets themselves, the CIoJ says.

Amanda Brodie, chairman of the Institute’s Professional Practices Board, said: “We urge all journalists to refuse to hand over their material unless ordered to do so by the courts. This is the proper procedure to which the police should adhere.

“Police are fully aware that they have no right to demand the handing over of such material on the spot, and that they must obtain a court order to do so. But there is evidence that they are putting pressure on journalists to do this.”

She added: “We also urge the courts to think twice before making blanket orders for material to be released. The police should have to demonstrate that there is a genuine need for this information, which can often be obtained from CCTV footage or even from media broadcasts already in the public domain.

“Applications for a production order should be limited to what is necessary and proportionate,” she said. “Police should not be requesting access to large quantities of footage from many media organisations, as this is tantamount to a fishing expedition.”

The CIoJ warns that such demands not only put lives at risk but may lead to democratic reporting being stifled due to safety fears.

This is already a reality in Northern Ireland, where newsgroups say that in recent weeks one photo-journalist was injured by a bullet and a cameraman provided evidence in court that a bullet passed through his trousers. He believed the media were being deliberately targeted whilst covering civil disturbances.

ENDS

 

NUJ strike at BBC “misguided, misdirected and mistaken”

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News Release
August 12, 2011

“Misguided, misdirected and mistaken”  - a former BBC Radio 4 Announcer and News Editor has hit out at NUJ strikes which have crippled some parts of the Corporation’s output in recent weeks.

Paul Leighton, Broadcasting Division chairman of the Chartered Institute of Journalists said “The NUJ has completely lost the plot in its otherwise laudable campaign against compulsory redundancies at the BBC. It needs to stop fighting lost battles when it could be doing so much better looking after the real needs of journalists in trouble.  Their current action simply antagonises listeners and viewers.

Leighton said “In common with the NUJ, we are utterly opposed to the corporation’s determination to axe so many jobs in radio – particularly at the World Service. We have told the chairman of the BBC Trust, the Culture Secretary and the chairman of the Commons Media Select Committee, that it is a massive mistake. But, we are also realists, and from bitter experience know that strikes have rarely altered the Corporation’s views once it is dead-set on a policy.”

Leighton said opponents of the BBC’s plans should be seeking to improve staff’s pension prospects and working conditions and ensuring that employees forced to go would get decent financial packages on leaving.

He added: “Those of us who worked for the corporation for a long time know it’s hard to knock it off-course however good your counter argument might be.  That is not a counsel of despair, it is simply an appreciation of the realities.  ‘Gesture trade-unionism’ simply does not work.”

The Institute said it would continue to fight redundancies throughout the BBC, and hoped that recent strike action would not undermine listeners’ and viewers’ loyalty to the corporation.

Ends

 

Notes to 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.

Contact: Paul Leighton FCIJ

The Chartered Institute of Journalists supports best practice guide for internships

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The CIoJ were among guests at the official launch of the Common Best Practice Code for High-Quality Internships with Rt Hon David Willetts MP, Minister of State for Universities and Science, on 18 July in London.

General Secretary Dominic Cooper and Immediate Past President Liz Justice joined as working members on the Gateways to the Professions Collaborative Forum group in 2010 after CIoJ members raised concerns about the misuse of interns on newspapers and magazines at its Annual Conference.

Working in collaboration with other professional bodies, the best practice Code has been endorsed by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills in recognition of the role of internships in improving access to a professional career – including journalism – by talented people who could not access high quality University courses.

Liz said: “Access and meritocracy remain vital stepping stones for all young people looking for a job and even more so when recruitment departments concentrate on graduates from elite Universities. This Code makes it clear that interns are not a cheap way of getting people in to do the work without pay. If followed the Code turns barriers into positive opportunities for a win win situation without exploitation to the candidate or the company.”

As well as getting the backing of the Government the Code gained support from the TUC, the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development, the Social Mobility Foundation and the PRCA Commission on Access.

Dominic added: “It was reassuring that the Minister said the rules relating to the Minimum Wage and access to University using company sponsorship are two further ways the Government were looking to take this forward. Because the Code was drawn up by professional bodies like ours, it allows a clear guide which if followed works for all parties. There is more work that needs doing but as a first step we can endorse and support our members using the Code if they are considering using interns.”

The Code is available here

 

CLEGG’S COMMENTS ‘A SLUR ON OUR PROFESSION’ SAYS CIOJ

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Press Release

14 July 2011

 

THE Chartered Institute of Journalists has reacted with concern to comments made by Nick Clegg today (July 14) on media regulation.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, the deputy prime minister said that the phone hacking scandal should be used as an opportunity to “clean up” the relationship between the press, politicians and police.

The scandal “clearly goes beyond News International,” he said, and was a “systemic” symptom of a “cosy” establishment.

He added that the rules on media plurality should be re-examined and the “entirely toothless” Press Complaints Commission looked at.

Amanda Brodie, chairman of the CIoJ’s Professional Practices Board, said: “As a professional institution which protects the rights of journalists, we are very concerned at this latest suggestion from the Government that such illegal practices as phone-hacking are so widespread within the industry.

“To suggest that illegal practices are endemic amongst the press is wholly wrong, and a slur on our profession. The vast majority of journalists are happy to subscribe to the Press Complaints Commission code of conduct and go about their business in a responsible and totally legal fashion.

“This kind of irresponsible comment leads to knee-jerk reactions.

“It is also disingenuous of the Government to start complaining about the ‘cosy’ relationship with the press, which so many politicians encouraged and benefited from, but are now condemning because it is politically expedient for them to do so.”

Amanda Brodie added: “During this interview, Mr Clegg also accused the PCC of being ‘in the pockets of the media it is supposed to be regulating.’ What evidence does he have for making this statement?

“The role of the PCC certainly needs to be looked at, but the Government has no power to do this since the PCC is not a government organisation. It can of course legislate to regulate the press perhaps by creating a new body, but who is to say this new body would be any more independent, especially if it is set up and administered by government?”

She added: “Mr Clegg said today: ‘Things always go wrong when you give anyone… a lot of power, and they’ve got no responsibility to answer for it,’ – and that is exactly what happened with the MPs’ expenses scandal – it was the press who made the politicians answer for it. We should not forget the vital role the press plays in protecting the public, and it must be free to continue to do this. Indeed, it should not be forgotten that it was, in fact, elements of the Press that kept the pressure on regarding illegal phone hacking, long after the police and the NoW had found no further need to re-examine the affair.

“However, we do welcome Mr Clegg’s comment that: ‘It is important that we do not let the free press be undermined by the out of control press’ and we hope this will be the government’s mantra as it seeks to determine any change in the laws of media regulation in this country.”

ENDS

 

Notes to 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.

Contact: Amanda Brodie 07775 992563

CIoJ condemns sacking of NoW staff

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NEWS ALERT

8 JULY 2011

The Chartered Institute of Journalists has condemned the sacking of hundreds of News of the World staff – both editorial and others.

CIoJ president Norman Bartlett said the union was appalled at the peremptory closure of the News of the World in a bid by Rupert Murdoch and News International to deflect flack over the hacking scandal.

Bartlett said: “This action, which closes a well-liked British institution, does not resolve the issue of despicable behaviour by a handful of journalists.

“It does, however, ruin the careers and finances of hundreds of hardworking employees, journalists and those following other trades and professions for News International.

“It is a cruel and unnecessary punishment on many innocent workers.

“The Chartered Institute of Journalists supports the highest standards in journalism, but deplores this action by News International.”

CIoJ general secretary Dominic Cooper has called on Prime Minister David Cameron to think very carefully before taking any action that threatens the future of the Press Complaints Commission.

This morning [Friday] Mr Cameron seemed to signal the end of the PCC’s system of self-regulation of the printed news media, saying: “The way the press is regulated today is not working”. He described the PCC as “ineffective and lacking in rigour”.

He said that an entirely new system, “truly independent” of both the Government and the Press, was needed.

At a time when everyone from Alex Salmond to the union Unite is calling for tighter regulation of the Press, Cooper warned that a knee-jerk reaction to the NotW scandal would not serve the best interests of Press freedom or the wider public good.

He said that while Mr Cameron had said a new regulatory framework should be independent of the Government, there was a serious danger that it would be nothing of the sort unless time was taken to fully and calmly assess exactly what went wrong with the PCC’s handling of the phone hacking case and how best to prevent such failures happening again.

“While the Institute appreciates the urgency of the need to look for a better system, that must be balanced by the need in a democracy to protect the freedom of the Press and to avoid introducing draconian rules that restrict the work of thousands of honest journalists who have never behaved illegally or unethically,” Cooper said.

Ends

Notes to 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.

Contact: CIoJ President, Norman Bartlett, 07711 550523

 

A BAD DAY FOR THE REPUTATION OF THE PRESS

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NEWS RELEASE

5 JULY 2011

TODAY has been a bad day for the Press’ reputation, says the Chartered Institute of Journalists. (CIoJ)

Three national newspapers are under a cloud following allegations of misconduct of a type which may have far-reaching consequences. The allegations tar the reputation of journalism yet there are more than 1,000 British newspapers whose dedicated journalists would never resort to such tactics. This fact should not be missed in the hurry to cast judgement on the profession as a whole.

Prime Minister David Cameron has described claims that a private detective working for the News of the World hacked into murdered teenager Milly Dowler’s mobile phone, as “quite, quite shocking. If true, this is a truly dreadful act and a truly dreadful situation,” he told a news conference in Kabul on Tuesday.

Police are to meet executives from the paper to discuss allegations that Glenn Mulcaire hacked into Milly’s voicemail when she was missing in 2002. Her remains were found in remote woodland at Yateley Heath in Hampshire six months later.

The Guardian newspaper claims that Mr Mulcaire intercepted messages left by relatives for the 13-year-old, and some were allegedly deleted.

Labour has demanded a full inquiry into the hacking claims.

News International boss Rebekah Brooks has promised the “strongest possible action” if the claims are proven. In a statement to staff obtained by the BBC, Mrs Brooks said the claims were “almost too horrific to believe”.

She added: “I hope that you all realise it is inconceivable that I knew – or worse – sanctioned these appalling allegations.”

Meanwhile two tabloid newspapers are set to go on trial accused of contempt of court, for their coverage of the arrest of a man in connection with the killing of landscape architect Jo Yeates.

Christopher Jefferies, from Bristol, was arrested last December and was later released without charge. Another man has admitted manslaughter and is awaiting trial accused of murder.

Miss Yeates’ landlord, Mr Jefferies, who was the subject of media scrutiny after he was arrested, is also suing six national newspapers in the civil courts.

Miss Yeates vanished after returning to her basement flat in Bristol’s Clifton area on 17 December. Her body was found on a grass verge about three miles away on Longwood Lane in Failand on Christmas Day.

Attorney General Dominic Grieve said the Sun and the Daily Mirror published stories which went too far. He claims that if Mr Jefferies had been charged, a fair trial would have been impossible.

Commenting on the cases, Amanda Brodie, chairman of the CIoJ’s Professional Practices Board, said: “If these allegations are found to be true, this is a black day for standards in journalism.

“In this country we have always enjoyed the privileges of a free press, but with those privileges comes responsibility. If we do not self-regulate in a responsible manner, we risk having regulation imposed on us. This would be a retrograde step in the expression of democracy.

“The Chartered Institute of Journalists has a code of conduct to which it expects its members to adhere. The vast majority of media organisations subscribe to the Press Complaints Commission code of conduct, and act responsibly. But those that do step out of line risk spoiling self-regulation for the rest.”

 

ENDS

 

Notes to 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.

Contact: Amanda Brodie 07775 992563

 

BBC FUNDING U-TURN IS ‘TOO LITTLE TOO LATE’, SAYS INSTITUTE

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NEWS RELEASE

DATE: 24 June 2011

 

THE Government’s recent about-turn on BBC World Service funding is “Too little, too late,” according to the Chartered Institute of Journalists.

The Foreign Secretary, William Hague, this week announced an additional grant of £7m over the next three years, which it’s thought could save the BBC Arabic Service and throw a lifeline to the threatened Hindi network.

Chairman of the CIoJ’s Broadcasting Division, Paul Leighton, welcomed the news, but said it does not end the fight to save hundreds of jobs which are due to be axed in the BBC World Service.

Mr Leighton – an ex-BBC news editor – says that many jobs have already gone with the closure of a number of language services – and there are still more to come.

“It was an intolerable burden to add the costs of the World Service to the BBC budget at a time when money was already tight,” he said.

“It seems the Foreign Secretary has, to some degree at least, accepted that. But this money is no substitute for the grant in aid withdrawn from the World Service by this Government.”

Earlier this month (June) BBC News tabled proposals for widespread cuts to its 8,000 news staff in the UK and abroad, as part of a plan to make annual savings of £89m. The plans also included merging the previously separately-funded BBC World Service with the main news division. It is feared that as many as 1,000 journalists’ jobs may be axed.

The Institute plans to continue to fight further closures and job losses.

ENDS

WORLD’S OLDEST JOURNALIST ORGANISATION SUPPORTS NEW COLLEGE

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NEWS RELEASE

Date: 27 May 2011

The world’s oldest journalist professional body, the Chartered Institute of Journalists, has given its support for a new University Technical College in Harlow. The Institute hopes to work closely with the management and teaching staff to develop the college and its journalism and media courses.

The Chartered Institute of Journalists is a membership organisation which has been protecting and serving the best interests of journalists and journalism for more than 120 years. Training is a key interest, and one specified in the Institute’s Royal Charter, granted by Queen Victoria in 1890.

Norman Bartlett, CIoJ president, explained: “The Institute wants to ensure that budding journalists get the best education and training possible. Better qualified journalists will improve career prospects, and in so doing enable the quality of journalism to improve and expand.

“The Internet and other technologies have changed the face of journalism, and it is important that this is reflected in the courses that are provided by colleges.”

The Institute will be the link for the new college to the industry. It will provide advice and assistance to the management as it develops the new college, to the teaching staff when they are devising journalism and media courses, ensuring they match the needs of the industry.

Norman Bartlett continued: “We will also provide a conduit for the college to secure wider help and support from the industry, opening doors for students to visit real workplaces, secure work experience placements and hopefully valuable jobs in the industry.

“We want to help Harlow UTC students to get the best education, the best training, and the best opportunities.”

Robert Halfon, the Member of Parliament for Harlow and a member of the Institute, said: “I have worked very hard on this for over a year, helping Harlow College with their plans for a new University Technical School.

“If we get this, it would transform the lives of young Harlow people. I have done this because I am passionate about apprenticeships. They are not just about economic efficiency, they are about social justice as well, and will give our young people opportunities and skills. That is also why I employed probably the first ever MP’s Apprentice – a local lad from Harlow called Andy Huckle.”

 

ENDS

 

Notes to 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.

 

New select committee will act over injunctions ‘farce’

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NEWS RELEASE

Date: 24 May 2011

 

NEWS that a select committee is to be set up to look into the question of injunctions and super-injunctions has been welcomed by the Chartered Institute of Journalists.

The move was announced in the House of Commons on Monday (May 23) by attorney general Dominic Grieve, in response to a question tabled by John Whittingdale MP, chair of the committee for Culture, Media and Sport.

Mr Whittingdale referred to the case of a famous footballer who it is claimed has taken out such an injunction to prevent the publication of details about his private life.

A Scottish newspaper has identified the footballer but is unlikely to face prosecution since Scottish law differs from that south of the border. The footballer has also been named on social network site Twitter and his identity has become common knowledge. Despite this, the media has been banned from identifying the man and The Sun newspaper was yesterday (Monday 23 May) unsuccessful in its attempt to get the ban overturned.

Mr Whittingdale said in the House: “This is all in danger of making the law look an ass.”

Mr Grieve said the committee would be a joint effort between both Houses of Parliament. Both the justice and culture secretaries would be invited to set up terms of reference for the committee which would be due to report back in the autumn.

Announcing the formation of the committee, Mr Grieve added that it would still be up to the judiciary to decide on individual cases.

Speaking of the discrepancies between the restrictions on the print media and electronic media such as social network sites, Mr Grieve added: “People who believe that modern methods of communication mean they can act with impunity, may well be in for a rude shock.”

He added: “Generally the Press respect injunctions – it is the bloggers and tweeters who are causing a lot of the problems.”

The comments were welcomed this week by the chair of the CIoJ’s professional practices board, Amanda Brodie.

She said: “The Institute welcomes the formation of the new committee which it is hoped will go some way towards regularising the position with regard to injunctions.

“Frankly, the present situation is rapidly descending into farce. Much of this information is already in the public domain and yet print media are being bound by restrictions which social networking sites are ignoring.

“The law is lagging behind in the fast-paced world of electronic media and urgent action to police the situation is long-overdue.

“The Government needs to find a solution that will balance the rights to privacy with the right to freedom of expression and of a free Press – and it needs to do it soon, for all our sakes.”

ENDS

 

Notes to 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.

 

NEWS RELEASE

Date: 24 May 2011

New select committee will act over injunctions ‘farce’

NEWS that a select committee is to be set up to look into the question of injunctions and super-injunctions has been welcomed by the Chartered Institute of Journalists.

The move was announced in the House of Commons on Monday (May 23) by attorney general Dominic Grieve, in response to a question tabled by John Whittingdale MP, chair of the committee for Culture, Media and Sport.

Mr Whittingdale referred to the case of a famous footballer who it is claimed has taken out such an injunction to prevent the publication of details about his private life.

A Scottish newspaper has identified the footballer but is unlikely to face prosecution since Scottish law differs from that south of the border. The footballer has also been named on social network site Twitter and his identity has become common knowledge. Despite this, the media has been banned from identifying the man and The Sun newspaper was yesterday (Monday 23 May) unsuccessful in its attempt to get the ban overturned.

Mr Whittingdale said in the House: “This is all in danger of making the law look an ass.”

Mr Grieve said the committee would be a joint effort between both Houses of Parliament. Both the justice and culture secretaries would be invited to set up terms of reference for the committee which would be due to report back in the autumn.

Announcing the formation of the committee, Mr Grieve added that it would still be up to the judiciary to decide on individual cases.

Speaking of the discrepancies between the restrictions on the print media and electronic media such as social network sites, Mr Grieve added: “People who believe that modern methods of communication mean they can act with impunity, may well be in for a rude shock.”

He added: “Generally the Press respect injunctions – it is the bloggers and tweeters who are causing a lot of the problems.”

The comments were welcomed this week by the chair of the CIoJ’s professional practices board, Amanda Brodie.

She said: “The Institute welcomes the formation of the new committee which it is hoped will go some way towards regularising the position with regard to injunctions.

“Frankly, the present situation is rapidly descending into farce. Much of this information is already in the public domain and yet print media are being bound by restrictions which social networking sites are ignoring.

“The law is lagging behind in the fast-paced world of electronic media and urgent action to police the situation is long-overdue.

“The Government needs to find a solution that will balance the rights to privacy with the right to freedom of expression and of a free Press – and it needs to do it soon, for all our sakes.”

ENDS

Notes to 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.

NEWS RELEASE

 

Date: 24 May 2011

 

 

 

New select committee will act over injunctions ‘farce’

 

 

 

NEWS that a select committee is to be set up to look into the question of injunctions and super-injunctions has been welcomed by the Chartered Institute of Journalists.

 

 

 

The move was announced in the House of Commons on Monday (May 23) by attorney general Dominic Grieve, in response to a question tabled by John Whittingdale MP, chair of the committee for Culture, Media and Sport.

 

 

 

Mr Whittingdale referred to the case of a famous footballer who it is claimed has taken out such an injunction to prevent the publication of details about his private life.

 

 

 

A Scottish newspaper has identified the footballer but is unlikely to face prosecution since Scottish law differs from that south of the border. The footballer has also been named on social network site Twitter and his identity has become common knowledge. Despite this, the media has been banned from identifying the man and The Sun newspaper was yesterday (Monday 23 May) unsuccessful in its attempt to get the ban overturned.

 

 

 

Mr Whittingdale said in the House: “This is all in danger of making the law look an ass.”

 

 

 

Mr Grieve said the committee would be a joint effort between both Houses of Parliament. Both the justice and culture secretaries would be invited to set up terms of reference for the committee which would be due to report back in the autumn.

 

 

 

Announcing the formation of the committee, Mr Grieve added that it would still be up to the judiciary to decide on individual cases.

 

 

 

Speaking of the discrepancies between the restrictions on the print media and electronic media such as social network sites, Mr Grieve added: “People who believe that modern methods of communication mean they can act with impunity, may well be in for a rude shock.”

 

 

 

He added: “Generally the Press respect injunctions – it is the bloggers and tweeters who are causing a lot of the problems.”

 

 

 

The comments were welcomed this week by the chair of the CIoJ’s professional practices board, Amanda Brodie.

 

 

 

She said: “The Institute welcomes the formation of the new committee which it is hoped will go some way towards regularising the position with regard to injunctions.

 

 

 

“Frankly, the present situation is rapidly descending into farce. Much of this information is already in the public domain and yet print media are being bound by restrictions which social networking sites are ignoring.

 

 

 

“The law is lagging behind in the fast-paced world of electronic media and urgent action to police the situation is long-overdue.

 

 

 

“The Government needs to find a solution that will balance the rights to privacy with the right to freedom of expression and of a free Press – and it needs to do it soon, for all our sakes.”

 

 

 

ENDS

 

 

 

Notes to 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.

 

 

NEWS RELEASE

 

Date: 24 May 2011

 

 

 

New select committee will act over injunctions ‘farce’

 

 

 

NEWS that a select committee is to be set up to look into the question of injunctions and super-injunctions has been welcomed by the Chartered Institute of Journalists.

 

 

 

The move was announced in the House of Commons on Monday (May 23) by attorney general Dominic Grieve, in response to a question tabled by John Whittingdale MP, chair of the committee for Culture, Media and Sport.

 

 

 

Mr Whittingdale referred to the case of a famous footballer who it is claimed has taken out such an injunction to prevent the publication of details about his private life.

 

 

 

A Scottish newspaper has identified the footballer but is unlikely to face prosecution since Scottish law differs from that south of the border. The footballer has also been named on social network site Twitter and his identity has become common knowledge. Despite this, the media has been banned from identifying the man and The Sun newspaper was yesterday (Monday 23 May) unsuccessful in its attempt to get the ban overturned.

 

 

 

Mr Whittingdale said in the House: “This is all in danger of making the law look an ass.”

 

 

 

Mr Grieve said the committee would be a joint effort between both Houses of Parliament. Both the justice and culture secretaries would be invited to set up terms of reference for the committee which would be due to report back in the autumn.

 

 

 

Announcing the formation of the committee, Mr Grieve added that it would still be up to the judiciary to decide on individual cases.

 

 

 

Speaking of the discrepancies between the restrictions on the print media and electronic media such as social network sites, Mr Grieve added: “People who believe that modern methods of communication mean they can act with impunity, may well be in for a rude shock.”

 

 

 

He added: “Generally the Press respect injunctions – it is the bloggers and tweeters who are causing a lot of the problems.”

 

 

 

The comments were welcomed this week by the chair of the CIoJ’s professional practices board, Amanda Brodie.

 

 

 

She said: “The Institute welcomes the formation of the new committee which it is hoped will go some way towards regularising the position with regard to injunctions.

 

 

 

“Frankly, the present situation is rapidly descending into farce. Much of this information is already in the public domain and yet print media are being bound by restrictions which social networking sites are ignoring.

 

 

 

“The law is lagging behind in the fast-paced world of electronic media and urgent action to police the situation is long-overdue.

 

 

 

“The Government needs to find a solution that will balance the rights to privacy with the right to freedom of expression and of a free Press – and it needs to do it soon, for all our sakes.”

 

 

 

ENDS

 

 

 

Notes to 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.