CIoJ Press releases

Danbury journalist honoured

Posted on by CIoJ in CIoJ Press releases, News, Presidential handover | Leave a comment

AT A RECEPTION at the National Liberal Club in London, Danbury journalist Norman Bartlett was installed last week (20 January) as the President of the Chartered Institute of Journalists.

He introduced Maldon MP, John Whittingdale, who spoke on the commercial and technical issues facing journalism and broadcasting today. He mentioned particularly the danger of investigative journalism being threatened by the courts.

“It is vital that the press is able to report on freely on abuses and failures,” he said.

Whittingdale is the Chairman of the Commons Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport.

Bartlett is a long-time Danbury resident whose journalism has taken him to many countries, reporting on travel, transport, engineering and information technology.

The Chartered Institute of Journalists (CIoJ) is the oldest organisation of its kind in the world. It was founded in 1884 and was awarded a Royal Charter in 1890. The CIoJ is a non-political membership organisation based in London but open to all professional journalists, editors and broadcasters worldwide.

THE CHARTERED INSTITUTE OF JOURNALISTS (CIoJ) says Northcliffe’s move is a serious attack on standards within the profession

Posted on by CIoJ in CIoJ Press releases | Leave a comment

NEWS RELEASE

RELEASE DATE: 10 November 2010

Northcliffe is planning a reduction in the number of copy-subs at its production centres. Reporters will be asked to write directly onto pages, being given a pre-set length for the story. This is already the case at two other large media companies, Johnston Press and Archant.

The proposals will lead to a reorganisation of the six production ‘hubs’ which were set up only last year. The production centres, known as ‘hubs’, thought to be most at risk are South West hub at Plymouth, the West Midlands hub at Stoke, and the East Midlands hub in Nottingham.

The CIoJ said: “This is a personal tragedy for every journalist who loses his or her job, but it is much more far-reaching than that. The union views the removal of this vital tier of checks, carried out by sub-editors, to be a serious detriment to the standards of our local newspapers.

“Reporters, who are already working hard to produce copy for print, on-line and video platforms, are now being expected to sub-edit their own copy as well. Headline writing is a skill in itself, yet reporters are being asked to perform this task too, often with little or no training.

“Clearly this can only lead to more errors creeping into stories, lowering the standards which readers have rightly come to expect from their local Press.

“We are aware of the need to make economies in these difficult times, but it is likely that the loss of a whole raft of experienced journalists like this will prove to be a false economy.

“Advertisers and readers alike may well lose confidence in newspapers as a result of this lowering of standards, and this will cost them dear in terms of much-needed revenue.

“Managers also need to factor-in the cost of expensive legal fees due to more mistakes getting into print, which may end up in court.”

“So many senior journalists are either being made redundant or walking out after seeing what is happening to their papers, that we are now seeing a serious drain in talent and experience in our profession. This leeching of expertise can only weaken the newspapers they leave behind. It will have serious consequences for the companies themselves, who will soon find it impossible to recruit staff of the calibre they require.”

INSTITUTE APPEALS TO SOUTH AFRICAN ICON TO RESIST APARTHEID MEDIA CONTROL LAWS

Posted on by CIoJ in CIoJ Press releases | Leave a comment

NEWS RELEASE

RELEASE TIME: 20 October 2010, 9.00am

Institute of Journalists Calls on Nelson Mandela to resist legislation

THE CHARTERED INSTITUTE OF JOURNALISTS has appealed directly to Nelson Mandela in an effort to stop Draft legislation to control and censor the media in South Africa, reminiscent of apartheid-era laws.

Following a formal letter to South African President Jacob Zuma, the President of the CIoJ, Liz Justice, and the Chairman of the CIoJ’s International Division, Alun Hill, have asked the former president to use his influence to halt this potential disaster in its tracks.

“Nelson Mandela knows more than most, the true cost of trying to remove this type of censorship once it has taken hold in government,” said Justice. “It is our hope that he will use his considerable influence to help the South African government see sense before it is too late.”

“The only people who have reason to fear the media,” said Hill, “are those who are incompetent, corrupt, dishonest, or do things that are against the interests of the country. Politicians who are honest and work in the best interests of the country have nothing to fear.”

Hill continued: “The reputation of the media in South Africa in the years since the fall of apartheid has been very good. It is now one of the more free and best in Africa. It would be a shame and a big mistake to reintroduce press censorship and controls similar to those of the apartheid era that would make it much more difficult for the media to keep the people of South Africa informed about what is going on in the country.”

The Institute is objecting to two proposed measures, the Protection of Information Bill and a Media Appeals Tribunal. The bill makes it much easier for South African ministers to classify measures and activities as secret or confidential, and it provides for severe penalties – up to 25 years in jail – for journalists or anyone else publishing information about measures or activities that have been classified.

The Media Appeals Tribunal would replace the Press Council and Press Ombudsman to decide what the media can and cannot publish. The present system, which many say works well, is an independent system run by the media and forcing publications to publish large corrections if something they print was untrue or misleading. Members of the ANC, the majority party in South Africa, some of whom have been criticised by the media, want a Media Appeals Tribunal under Parliament’s control to take over the powers of deciding what the media can or cannot publish and what punishment should be given to publications found guilty of printing untrue or misleading information. The Tribunal would be appointed by Parliament and have to report regularly to Parliament.

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.

It has members in South Africa and an interest in the interests of journalists worldwide.

APARTHEID MEDIA CONTROL LAWS RE-EMERGE IN SOUTH AFRICA

Posted on by CIoJ in CIoJ Press releases | Leave a comment

NEWS RELEASE

RELEASE TIME: 24 September 2010, 9.00am

Institute of Journalists Calls on President Zuma to block legislation

Draft legislation to control and censor the media in South Africa, reminiscent of apartheid-era laws, has been strongly criticised by the Chartered Institute of Journalists, London. A formal joint letter has been sent to South African President Jacob Zuma by the President of the CIoJ, Liz Justice, and the Chairman of the CIoJ’s International Division, Alun Hill, “to make sure that this proposed legislation never reaches the Statute Book”.

The Institute is objecting to two proposed measures, the Protection of Information Bill and a Media Appeals Tribunal. The bill makes it much easier for South African ministers to classify measures and activities as secret or confidential, and it provides for severe penalties – up to 25 years in jail – for journalists or anyone else publishing information about measures or activities that have been classified.

The Media Appeals Tribunal would replace the Press Council and Press Ombudsman to decide what the media can and cannot publish. The present system, which many say works well, is an independent system run by the media and forcing publications to publish large corrections if something they print was untrue or misleading. Members of the ANC, the majority party in South Africa, some of whom have been criticised by the media, want a Media Appeals Tribunal under Parliament’s control to take over the powers of deciding what the media can or cannot publish and what punishment should be given to publications found guilty of printing untrue or misleading information. The Tribunal would be appointed by Parliament and have to report regularly to Parliament.

“Media freedom and independence are essential in a democracy,” write Ms. Justice and Mr. Hill. “The media is the fourth estate of a free democracy, and it needs to be free to perform its important function, to tell the public honestly what is happening in the country and in the world.”

The Protection of Information Bill gives very wide powers to a Government Minister to classify almost any information involving an organ of state, if it is claimed that classification is in the interests of national security. The bill also introduces “severe penalties” of up to 25 years imprisonment to anyone disclosing protected information, refusing to reveal their sources, or even attempting to uncover protected information.

The Institute warns that there is a great danger that the power to classify would be misused to hide incompetence and dishonest activities and to prevent the media publishing information about them. This is particularly so as the minister of state security may delegate the power to classify information or activities to other politicians or to senior officials.

In addition, the CIoJ complains that there are minimal controls on what can be classified, and that there is no public interest clause in the bill, which would enable the media to claim, and the courts to rule, that publishers may print information if it is in the public interest. This in fact makes the minister judge and jury as to what can be classified and what the media can publish.

“The only people who have reason to fear the media,” write Justice and Hill, “are those who are incompetent, corrupt, dishonest, or do things that are against the interests of the country. Politicians who are honest and work in the best interests of the country have nothing to fear.”

The reputation of the media in South Africa in the years since the fall of apartheid has been very good. “It is now one of the most free and best in Africa,” they write. “It would be a shame and a big mistake to reintroduce press censorship and controls similar to those of the apartheid era that would make it much more difficult for the media to keep the people of South Africa informed about what is going on in the 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.

It has members in South Africa and an interest in the interests of journalists worldwide.

TURKEY WARNED NO EU MEMBERSHIP WITHOUT FREE MEDIA

Posted on by CIoJ in CIoJ Press releases, Press Freedom | Leave a comment

NEWS RELEASE

RELEASE DATE: 19 April 2010

Institute protests at jailing of Kurdish editors

The Chartered Institute of Journalists (CIoJ) has sent a protest at the way Turkey continues to ignore the European Convention of Human Rights, of which it is a signatory, and to imprison senior journalists for writing about the activities of the PKK, the outlawed Kurdish Workers’ Party. It also calls for the immediate release of journalists now in prison for writing and publishing articles about the PKK.

Verdat Kursun, former editor of the Kurdish daily newspaper, Azadiya Welat, had already served 13 months in prison since his arrest in Istanbul when he was jailed on 7th April for publishing articles about the PKK. The total sentence for 32 other charges against him “for helping and abetting the PKK organisation by spreading propaganda” and “glorifying crimes and criminals” in articles in the newspaper would be 525 years in prison.

At the same time the newspaper that Kursun used to edit has been banned from publication for one month for “spreading propaganda for an illegal organization”. The Institute has also protested at this ban, which is in direct contradiction of the freedom of the press.

Writing to the Turkish Ambassador in London, John Szemerey, chairman of the International Division of the CIoJ, points out that “it is the function of the media to inform its readers of news, without fear or favour.” The Turkish Government must know, he writes, that the PKK is seen by many in the Kurdish part of the country as a freedom movement, and that no Kurdish newspaper, magazine or radio or TV station would be credible if it did not report on the activities and policies of the PKK.

Szemerey, who is also the CIoJ’s representative in Brussels, warns the ambassador that Turkey’s failure to have a free press and its jailing of journalists who report the activities and policies of the PKK will “make it impossible for the countries of the EU to admit Turkey to membership”. Freedom of the media and freedom of speech are basic principles laid down in the European Convention of Human Rights.

“All EU countries have to respect and enforce the freedom of the media and freedom of speech. All EU countries have to live within the law.”

Within the last four years six chief editors of Azadiya Welat have either been jailed for publishing news about the PKK or have had to flee the country to avoid arrest. Ozan Kilinc, Mr.Kursun’s successor as editor of Azadiya Welat, was sentenced to 21 years in prison in February for publishing articles and pictures about the PKK and its jailed leader.

“This is an absolute disgrace, and it reflects badly on Turkey,” says Szemerey.

“It is the duty of the media to report what is happening., to report the truth,” he continues. “Honest and credible media cannot turn a blind eye to the activities of organisations the government does not like.”

Turkey must ensure that is media is free to report the truth, and that its judiciary applies the European Convention of Human Rights in its judgements and decisions. It certainly must do so if it wishes to enter the European Union. All EU countries have to respect and enforce the freedom of the media and freedom of speech. All EU countries have to live within the law.

“Many of us would like to see Turkey in the EU,” concludes Szemerey, “but it has no chance of being admitted to the EU while it does not respect and enforce the freedom of 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.

CIoJ welcomes Select Committee findings

Posted on by CIoJ in CIoJ Press releases, News | Leave a comment

NEWS RELEASE

RELEASE DATE: 6 APRIL 2010

CIoJ welcomes Select Committee findings

The first job for the ‘Commons Culture, Media and Sports Select Committee after the election should be to push the Department for Communities and Local Government into action over council-run newspapers.

“Having highlighted the breaches on government guidelines for these propaganda sheets, the MPs who will form the new Select Committee should make it their urgent business to see that the controversy is ended once and for all time,” the Chartered Institute of Journalists said today.

The Institute had complained earnestly to the Select Committee during its investigations that these so-called newspapers were a grave threat to the continuance of established local newspapers, were one-sided and were a wrong use of public money at a time of austerity. “The report is a vindication of our views,” said Robin Morgan, Chairman of the Institute’s Professional Practices Board.”

“Generally speaking we welcome the Committee’s findings but there is a long way between its’ recommendations and seeing them put into practice – and the general election will not help speed things through. We hope a new Parliament does not create a new Select Committee membership that has different ideas, throwing our industry’s problems back into the melting pot,” he said.

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.

Institute urges release of British journalist

Posted on by CIoJ in CIoJ Press releases | Leave a comment

NEWS RELEASE

Release time: 19 February 2010

The Chartered Institute of Journalists (CIoJ) has written to Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and asked for the immediate release of film-maker and freelance journalist Paul Martin.

President of the CIoJ, Liz Justice said: “This was an unprecedented step against a foreign journalist who had properly requested papers to work in Gaza and was approved for a visa to work as a journalist in the country.

“To arrest someone who is willing to go to court to back up a colleague by explaining that they are working as professional journalists goes against everything the CIoJ supports. The freedom of the press to operate objectively and openly is vital to any democracy.”

The CIoJ has also pointed out that British journalists are working with their colleagues across the world to help identify the people responsible for the assassination of the Hamas leader Mahmoud al Mabhouh in Dubai.

“We have pointed out to the Prime Minister that Hamas also need to act responsibility in dealing with press freedoms in their own country. Specifically the International media is focusing on this murder, making it more likely that the perpetrators will be found and any Government behind such action will be deterred from operating that way in the future.

Martin was arrested as a suspect for “harming Gaza’s security” after he appeared at a military court to speak on behalf of Mohammed Abu Muailik. The two had been working together on a documentary about Gaza. Muailik was held in detention in June accused of collaborating with Israel.

Ends+

Notes for Editors:

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

NEWS RELEASE
Release time: 19 February 2010

Institute urges release of British journalist

The Chartered Institute of Journalists (CIoJ) has written to Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and asked for the immediate release of film-maker and freelance journalist Paul Martin.

President of the CIoJ, Liz Justice said: “This was an unprecedented step against a foreign journalist who had properly requested papers to work in Gaza and was approved for a visa to work as a journalist in the country.

“To arrest someone who is willing to go to court to back up a colleague by explaining that they are working as professional journalists goes against everything the CIoJ supports. The freedom of the press to operate objectively and openly is vital to any democracy.”

The CIoJ has also pointed out that British journalists are working with their colleagues across the world to help identify the people responsible for the assassination of the Hamas leader Mahmoud al Mabhouh in Dubai.

“We have pointed out to the Prime Minister that Hamas also need to act responsibility in dealing with press freedoms in their own country. Specifically the International media is focusing on this murder, making it more likely that the perpetrators will be found and any Government behind such action will be deterred from operating that way in the future.

Martin was arrested as a suspect for “harming Gaza’s security” after he appeared at a military court to speak on behalf of Mohammed Abu Muailik. The two had been working together on a documentary about Gaza. Muailik was held in detention in June accused of collaborating with Israel.

Ends+

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

NEWS RELEASE

Release time: 19 February 2010

Institute urges release of British journalist

The Chartered Institute of Journalists (CIoJ) has written to Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and asked for the immediate release of film-maker and freelance journalist Paul Martin.

President of the CIoJ, Liz Justice said: “This was an unprecedented step against a foreign journalist who had properly requested papers to work in Gaza and was approved for a visa to work as a journalist in the country.

“To arrest someone who is willing to go to court to back up a colleague by explaining that they are working as professional journalists goes against everything the CIoJ supports. The freedom of the press to operate objectively and openly is vital to any democracy.”

The CIoJ has also pointed out that British journalists are working with their colleagues across the world to help identify the people responsible for the assassination of the Hamas leader Mahmoud al Mabhouh in Dubai.

“We have pointed out to the Prime Minister that Hamas also need to act responsibility in dealing with press freedoms in their own country. Specifically the International media is focusing on this murder, making it more likely that the perpetrators will be found and any Government behind such action will be deterred from operating that way in the future.

Martin was arrested as a suspect for “harming Gaza’s security” after he appeared at a military court to speak on behalf of Mohammed Abu Muailik. The two had been working together on a documentary about Gaza. Muailik was held in detention in June accused of collaborating with Israel.

Ends+

Notes for Editors:

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

.

CIoJ congratulates Independent campaign

Posted on by CIoJ in CIoJ Press releases, Freedom of Information, Press Freedom | Leave a comment

The CIoJ has written to the Editor of the Independent congratulating their successful campaign to free Afghan journalist Sayed Pervez Kambaksh.

Letter to the Editor;

Dear Sir,

The Chartered Institute of Journalists would like to congratulate you on your determined campaign to free Afghan journalist, Sayed Pervez Kambaksh.

As journalists we often walk a difficult path and this is more dangerous as we pursue our professional duty to expose corruption, illegal practices, human rights’ abuses and express our support for victims of oppression.

Sadly most people forget this when they judge journalists and the profession and we were delighted to see the Independent fighting to support journalists like Sayed Pervez Kambaksh.

Congratulations once again,

Dominic Cooper

General Secretary

Chartered Institute of Journalists, 2 Dock Offices

Surrey Quays Road, London SE16 2XU

CIoJ welcomes release of journalists

Posted on by CIoJ in CIoJ Press releases, News, Press Freedom | Leave a comment

cioj-armsTHE CHARTERED INSTITUTE OF JOURNALISTS has welcomed the release of journalists Laura Long and Euna Lee from captivity and hard labour in North Korea.

“This is a positive step by the North Korean authorities,” said CIoJ President, Liz Justice, “and demonstrates recognition that the journalists’ mistake was genuine and was no threat to North Korea.

“However, this situation should be an example to all journalists of the potential risks when trying to get their story. It also serves as a reminder of the situations and circumstances that journalists encounter on a regular basis in order to keep the rest of us fully informed as to what is happening around the world.”

Having written to Kim Jong-un appealing for clemency, the CIoJ will write again congratulating this decision.

What price democracy? Audit Commission can’t answer…so who will?

Posted on by CIoJ in Alerts, CIoJ Press releases, News | Leave a comment

 

NEWS RELEASE

Release time: 30 July 2009

The Audit Commission’s inquiry into local authority newspapers, ordered by the Government in its Digital Britain report, will not include an examination of their effect on traditional local newspapers.

Steve Bundred, chairman of the Commission, told the Chartered Institute of Journalists that it does not have the expertise to examine that contentious area.

Dominic Cooper, general secretary of the Institute said: “Although Digital Britain has encouraged an assessment to determine the value-for-council taxpayers’ money of these publications, this is only part of the equation. These council newspapers and magazines are more cover-up than cover-all and rarely, if ever, report anything other than council propaganda. What effect these publications have on democracy is just as important as how much taxpayer’s money they waste.

“We have seen how they have affected the performance of traditional local newspapers – leaving the public without independent scrutiny of local authority actions.”

Mr Bundred told the Institute: “The Commission is the champion of value for money in local public spending, and regulator of local public services. We plan to carry out research that examines the value achieved by council spending on communicating with the public and allows us to spread good practice and make recommendations about improving value for money in this area. This research would include council newsletters and newspapers, income derived from these newspapers, and spending on recruitment advertising.

“The Commission’s role and expertise do not lend themselves to examining the health of local newspapers or isolating the impacts of specific local authority practices on commercial bodies. This element of Digital Britain invitation appears better suited to regulators with a specific competition remit.”

Mr Cooper said: “While we welcome the inquiry because we believe it will show the exceptionally poor value for money that taxpayers get – only last week a council publication in Cornwall closed after 11 months at a cost of £700,000 to taxpayers – but unless their overall effects are studied the question still remains: What price democracy?

Ends+

For further information please contact:

Dominic Cooper: 020-7252-1187, or by e-mail at dc@cioj.co.uk;

Robin Morgan: 01226-203778, or by e-mail at robinmorgan@cioj.co.uk

Notes for Editors:

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