CIoJ Press releases

CIoJ welcomes call for local newspapers to become “community assets”

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Local newspapers should become “community assets”

The Chartered Institute of Journalists has sent a letter of support to MP Jonathan Edwards, applauding his support for local newspapers.

Mr Edwards has called on culture and media secretary Jeremy Hunt to nominate local papers as community assets under the Localism Act 2011.

Plaid Cymru MP Edwards hopes that if local newspapers were put into the “community assets” category, they could not be closed quickly, as there would have to be a period of consultation, which would allow time for other people to bid for the papers.

He said: “Welsh newspapers are a treasured part of our heritage, reflecting a mix of local news, views and sports coverage. They are a place where many excellent journalists work and become part of their communities.”

Chairman of the CIoJ’s Professional Practices Board, Amanda Brodie, said: “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. This is arguably the greatest crisis ever to hit our profession, and it is a silent cancer which will have far-reaching effects long after Lord Justice Leveson has put down his pen.

“Local newspapers are the training grounds of the journalists of the future. They are much more likely to adhere to the code of conduct, because they are accountable to the communities which they serve. They also fulfil a vital role in democracy and in their community, as Mr Edwards has pointed out. “

The Institute is also planning a meeting soon with Louise Mensch MP, to discuss the crisis in local papers. She secured a debate in Westminster recently about the future of the local press, after mergers and job losses at her local paper in Northants, owned by Johnston Press.

ENDS

Notes to 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.

CIoJ welcomes Judges’ ruling on Dale Farm disclosure orders

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18 May 2012

The Chartered Institute of Journalists (CIoJ) today welcomed the High Court ruling that disclosure orders can never be granted as a formality.

Lord Justice Moses and Mr Justice Eady have quashed an order for media organisations to hand over footage shot during the Dale Farm eviction in October 2011. The written judgement cited that “police had failed to make a sufficiently strong case” and accepted the media’s joint position that it was a fishing expedition for evidence.

The application was granted by Judge Gratwicke at Chelmsford Crown Court in February whenEssex Police submitted the application claiming the footage was needed to pursue prosecutions.

Mr Justice Eady said disclosure orders “can never be granted as a formality” and that while the police should not be discouraged from seeking to obtain material in the future, “it is not easy to do so and it should not be easy.”

The fact that Judge Gratwicke was unable to justify the order he made “stemmed from the inadequacy of the evidence and the grounds advanced by the police”, the judgement recorded.

The CIoJ said: “We welcome the comments that have been made regarding disclosure orders. Handing over material without a fight would allow people to think that the media is part of the establishment or in league with public authorities.”

“This ruling sends a stark warning to anyone who thinks journalists are there to gather material for anything other than the reporting of fact. It is a clear message that journalists remain independent, impartial witnesses to events. The media organisations who challenged it and won will give heart to many others in the media, because communities like Dale Farm would never have trusted a journalist again.”

The Judgement is available at http://www.judiciary.gov.uk/Resources/JCO/Documents/Judgments/bskyb-others-judgment-17052012.pdf

ENDS

 

Notes to Editors

1. The footage was shot during the operation to evict travellers from the site near Basildon on 19 and 20 October 2011 and included scenes of violence as bailiffs dismantled barricades.

2. The media involved – The BBC, Independent Television News, Channel 5, BSkyB, Hardcash Productions and freelance video journalist Jason Parkinson – joined forces to oppose the orders fearing it would blur the lines of independent journalism.

3. In the judgement Mr Justice Eady said it was difficult to dispute there was a real public interest in tracing people involved in public disorder or violence, but that has to be set against the level of interference with the media’s right to freedom of expression under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

4. “Because the cupboard was bare” when it came to demonstrating that the material would be of substantial value to the police investigation, the claimants were denied a fair opportunity to demonstrate to the (Chelmsford) court why much, if not the totality, of their material was unlikely to be of any assistance.”

5. 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.

Great-grandson to attend Stead memorial event

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Great-grandchilden of William Thomas Stead will attend the Chartered Institute of Journalists centennial memorial event this coming Sunday, 15 April. Stead died on the Titanic when it sank on April 15, 1912.

Mr Richard Stead, a great-grandson, has accepted the Insitute’s invitation to take part in the wreath-laying ceremony. He said his sister and several other great-grandchildren – some of whom have come from Australia – will also be present.

The Institute’s wreath will be laid on Stead’s memorial located on the Embankment, at 10am this Sunday. The memorial is directly opposite the Temple tube station’s Embankment exit and all Institute members are invited to attend.

Other representatives of organisations interested in W T Stead’s heritage have also indicated that they will join the Institute at the ceremony. The Institute’s memorial was raised through a collection of ‘shillings and half-crowns’ from journalists around the world.

 

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

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