CIoJ Press releases

Chartered Institute of Journalists to honour WT Stead

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CIoJ

The Chartered Institute of Journalists is to honour Britain’s first investigative journalist – on the 100th anniversary of his death aboard the Titanic. President Norman Bartlett will lay a wreath at the memorial to W.T Stead on the Victoria Embankment in London on April 15.

William Thomas Stead was acknowledged as Britain’s leading campaigning and investigative journalist in the late 1800s, particularly for his work in exposing the white-slave trade and child sex abuse in London’s brothels by the nation’s upper classes. This resulted in the passing of the Criminal Amendment Act which raised the age of consent from 13 to 16.

As part of his campaign, Stead “bought” a chimney sweep’s 13-year-old daughter (Eliza Armstrong) for £5 which earned him a three-month prison sentence. He continued to edit the Pall Mall Gazette (which later merged into the Evening Standard) from his prison cell.

After his death on the Titanic, the Institute of Journalists launched an appeal to raise funds for a memorial. So much was raised that two memorials were erected, one on Victoria Embankment opposite Temple Tube station in London and the other in Central Park, New York.

For further details, contact Robin Morgan: 01226 203778 / 07594 672540 / robinmorgan@ardsleydemon.co.uk

CIoJ warns Met over Filkin report

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CIoJ
CIoJ PRESS RELEASE
9 JANUARY 2012

The Chartered Institute of Journalists has written to the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, urging caution against over-zealous application of the Filkin report recommendations on socialising with journalists.

Amanda Brodie, chairman of the Institute’s Professional Practices Board, said: “We welcome large parts of the report which urges a more open and transparent connection with the media, but the way in which this is achieved should be left to the officers involved with the case. Restrictions on where, when, how or why contact is necessary do not need to be dictated.”

She added: “The report contains some advice to officers such as: ‘The offer of a pint of beer…… will usually be declined.’

“Instead the officers should meet reporters at the police station, and it encourages them to have a member of the police press office, or another officer present when possible.  They are being told to keep a note on any conversation they have with a journalist, and these records will be audited on a random basis.

“The connection between journalists and the police needs to bear all the hallmarks of a good relationship. This simply cannot be achieved in the sterile way of procedural formality. The informal basis for contact has worked for many years and served both the media, and the police, well. The ‘loose tongues’ syndrome works both ways and many officers have benefited from the information exchange.

“The fear from our point of view is that the restrictions that seem to be advised will, in our opinion, work against the very principles that Filkin urges; more open and transparent dealings with the media.

“The police themselves use a system of informants which is unregulated, to get information they need. It seems unfair for them to seek to restrict any similar legitimate practice employed by the media.”

ENDS

Note 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.

Journalists condemn ads on BBC

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CIoJ

CIoJ PRESS RELEASE
9 JANUARY 2012

Plans to allow advertising on the BBC World Service have been condemned as a damaging precedent – and likely to prove “the thin end of the wedge” for BBC broadcasting.

The attack comes from the oldest organisation representing media workers – The London-based Chartered Institute of Journalists, and follows an announcement that the BBC Trust has approved a year-long pilot scheme to permit adverts to appear on BBC World Service.

BBC

The Corporation says that the move follows a Government request that the World Service generate £3million by 2013/14 to compensate for budget cuts made necessary by the end of Foreign Office funding.  The Service’s Berlin frequency and its Arabic, Spanish and Russian Websites will all carry advertising.

The Chairman of the Institute’s Broadcasting Division, Paul Leighton said: “The move utterly undermines the BBC’s world-wide image as a source of authoritative news and information, totally independent and free from commercial or governmental influences”.

With the BBC’s licence fee income frozen for some years, he warned that the move set a precedent which could lead to advertising appearing on other BBC Radio outlets. “For years there have been calls from some MP’s for domestic Radio to carry advertising.  Once this step has been taken those calls will become louder and more difficult to resist.   Which branch of the BBC will be next on the list,   BBC Radio 1?  Radio 2? The Corporation’s Local Radio stations?”

The Chartered Institute is writing to the BBC Trust urging them not to proceed with the pilot and lobby Government for the restoration of Foreign Office “grant-in-aid”.

 

ENDS

Note 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.

Government attacks employment rights

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CIoJ

CIoJ

DECEMBER 2011

CHANGES TO THE employment tribunal system announced by the Government are very bad news for employees, says trade union the Institute of Journalists (IOJ).

A decision to extend the qualifying period for unfair dismissal claims from one to two years will come into force in April next year. And there are moves to introduce a fee which all claimants will have to pay if they want to make a claim to the tribunal. 

Amanda Brodie, chairman of the Institute’s Professional Practices Board, said: “There is no justification whatsoever for reducing employment rights in this way.

“We made strong representations about this on behalf of our members, at the initial consultation stage, and yet our concerns seem to have been largely ignored.

“Any decent employer has no reason to fear offering employment law protection to their journalists from day one, after an initial probationary period.  The only employers needing this protection are those who wish to treat their workforce unfairly. And the government has rubber-stamped their mandate.

“What we will find is firms employing journalists on short-term contracts with no intention of long-term employment.”

The second part of the proposal, about claimant fees being introduced, is scheduled to be implemented from April 2013, subject to a consultation period.

She added: “If this goes ahead, this extra burden on the wronged journalist when they are already under serious financial pressure having lost their job, will simply put off legitimate claims.”

“There is some good news in the planned requirement for all claims to go to the conciliation service ACAS before reaching employment tribunal. However, this needs careful implementation in order that it may be used as a genuine means to resolution rather than a delaying tactic, as it has been in the past by unscrupulous employers.”

ENDS

Note 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.
  • The IOJ (TU) is the trade union arm of the Chartered Institute of Journalists. The Institute represents staff and freelance journalists in every sector of the industry, including local and regional newspapers.

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