Motion 1 – Emergency motion
Proposed by the the President
As you will know, we sadly lost our President, Charlie Harris, earlier in the year. As a result of his death our Vice-President, Paul Leighton, stepped up to the role of President a year earlier than was expected. This has caused a difficulty with forthcoming elections for Council and Vice-President.
Although elections for both would, under normal circumstances, take place at the end of this year (2014), the Vice-President would have to take up office in one-year’s time, necessitating an election for a new VP at the end of next year (2015), too. This would then mean the elections would be out of sync and, therefore, financially inefficient.
One way to resolve this issue, and the one adopted by Council, is for the current Council to remain in office for a further year (until the end of 2015) and then conduct elections for VP and Council at the same time. We would still potentially need an election for VP at the end of this year, but it would mean that from 2016 onwards the VP and Council elections would happen at the same time.
To do this, however, the proposal would have to be put before the members at the AGM, and the members would have to formally adopt the proposal. The final wording of the motion will be available in the next couple of weeks but if you have any observations or queries about what is being proposed you may contact the General Secretary on 020 7252 1187 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Because of extenuating circumstances, Council proposes that its tenure for 2013-14 be extended for a further 12 months, to be terminated at the end of 2015. After which period the situation would revert to standing order 16.
Motion 2 – Institute Communications
Proposed by Ken Brookes
Add new Standing Order 39 and renumber appropriately existing Standing Order 39 and all subsequent Standing Orders.
39.1 As from 1st January 2015, the primary method of communication between Head Office and members shall be email or other electronic means agreed between Council, individual members and the General Secretary.
39.2 It shall be the responsibility of each member to provide a suitable email or approved other electronic address to which official communications may be sent, and to notify Head Office as and when any changes occur in this address.
39.3 Exceptionally, members may opt to receive communications by regular postal mail, instead of or in addition to electronic communication. The Institute shall endeavour to ensure safe and prompt delivery of communications but shall not be responsible for any delay or failure to deliver.
Motion 3 – Title change
Proposed by Ken Brookes
With immediate effect the operating title of the General Secretary is changed to Chief Executive.
Motion 4 – Ethics and Journalism
Proposed by Liz Justice
Trespass, theft and hacking aside, should all journalists be asked to sign up to codes of ethical conduct and not just held to the letter of the law? If so, what should they be?
The Institute considers that all journalists should be held to an ethical code and asks Council to form the basis of a code that may be attached to the Institute’s code of conduct.
Motion 5 – Freelance safety
Proposed by Rosaline Burnham
Recently an NBC freelancer has tested positive for the Ebola virus. He is 33 years old and has been in Liberia for three years. The day before he contracted the virus he was hired as a second cameraman for the network’s medical correspondent. During the Gulf War NBC’s safety record was abysmal. CBS issued staff with anti-chemical weapon suits, NBC’s response was inadequate.
I move that we address the safety of journalists in conflict zones, particularly how to protect commissioned freelancers who have no institutional support from media organisations. What happens to the family in the event of kidnapping or death?
Motion 6 – RIPA misuse
Proposed by Mark Croucher
The Institute notes with concern the actions of the Metropolitan Police and their use of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act to circumvent the legal protections afforded to whistleblowers and journalistic sources, and considers this the latest in a string of assaults upon civil liberties in the guise of anti-terrorism. Most recently this has involved the accessing of a senior political journalist’s telephone records in order to identify the source of his information in a case the reporting of which had serious political repercussions for the Government. Of equal concern are the number of police forces which, since these actions came to light, have refused to supply under Freedom of Information legislation details regarding whether they have used the same methods in similar circumstances and/or details of how many times they may have done so.
As a consequence, the Institute resolves:
1/. To commit itself fully to the ‘Save our Sources’ campaign which aims to halt this and similar circumventions of the law by those who are charged with upholding it, and urges all concerned with the preservation of a free press to also lend their support.
2/. To urge the Information Commissioner to overrule police forces who are attempting to conceal their misuse of anti-terror legislation to pursue journalistic sources and force them to release details
3/. To condemn the actions of the Metropolitan Police specifically for circumventing the requirements for obtaining a Production Order under the terms of the Police & Criminal Evidence Act and evading the requisite judicial oversight.
4/. To write to chief constables and Police and Crime Commissioners and remind them that their primary duty is to uphold the law, not to bend it to suit short term political purposes in the pursuit of political crimes which have caused embarrassment to police forces and their political masters.
5/. To demand of HM Government that they take swift, appropriate action to uphold the principles of law and demonstrate their commitment to the freedom of the press by enforcing that which is required under British statute law and under the terms of international treaties to which the United Kingdom is a signatory. “