Press releases

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.

 

UK MEDIA ORGANISATIONS WARN OF AMATEUR “PRESS PASS”

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Police forces and other organisations are warned today about a so-called “press pass” which is being sold by Demotix, the amateur journalists’ website.

UK Press Card Authority chair Mike Granatt said:

“The Demotix ‘press pass’ is nothing of the sort, despite the fact that it is designed to look like a genuine journalists’ identity document.

“The National Press Card is the card of professional journalists within the UK. All the major media organisations, associations and trades unions are part of the scheme. They include the BBC, SKY, ITN, the Newspaper Publishers Association, the NUJ, and the Newspaper Society.

(A full list of the 17 organisations and a copy of the card can be found at www.ukpresscardauthority.co.uk)

“We have worked hard over many years to establish the National Press Card as the ID for professional journalists. It is designed to assure the police and others that the holder is a professional newsgatherer, working full-time to serve the public.”

“Our concern is that the police and third parties might be misled by the Demotix card. Its intention is confirmed by Demotix’s advice on their website which suggests ‘…walking up to the authorities with swagger, then shove the press pass in their face along with ‘that’s right, I have access to this event’ grin on your face.’”

Granatt added: “No professional journalist would behave like that. And no-one should encourage anybody to try to bluster their way past a cordon or into an event with this hobbyists’ ‘press pass’.

“We will be contacting police forces across the country to alert them to the Demotix card.”

[ends]

Institute calls for Commons inquiry into newspaper crisis

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NEWS RELEASE

Release time: 3 December2008

The Chartered Institute of Journalists has asked the House of Commons Select Committee for Culture, Media and Sports to hold an urgent hearing into the crisis affecting Britain’s newspapers.

Job losses, title and office closures along with axing of editions – mainly at the larger newspaper groups – has ‘potentially disastrous consequences’ for the future of democracy, as well as the profession, and demands an urgent examination by the Select Committee, the Institute has told Mr John Whittingdale, the Committee’s chairman.

Robin Morgan, chairman of the Institute’s Professional Practices Board, said: “In its own way, this crisis is now as bad as that affecting the banking industry. Vast areas of Britain will be denied their traditional local news coverage because of all these cutbacks.  And that will have serious implications for the operation of our cherished democratic processes – not to mention the future of our profession.”

It is clear that the bulk of the mayhem is being created by the larger publishing groups.  “This calls into question the abilities and perceived responsibilities of their senior managements.  Are they more interested in maintaining group profits to impress the stock market, or are they truly committed to proper news coverage?” said Mr Morgan.

“Newspapers will survive through their news coverage retaining the loyalty of readers, but once the readership notices the inevitable consequences of these cuts, through fewer relevant stories, they may just stop buying and the spiral will intensify. Interestingly, independently-owned newspapers are not figuring much in the figures which suggests an interesting conclusion,” said Institute general secretary, Dominic Cooper.

The Institute pointed out that concern is now widespread and the recent Society of Editors’ conference heard calls for public subsidies to help the struggling industry maintain local news services.

Ends+

For further information please contact:

Dominic Cooper: 020-7252-1187

Robin Morgan: 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.

Freeview vital for ALBA experiment!

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NEWS RELEASE

Release time: Immediate

Add Freeview! – is the plea by the Chartered Institute of Journalists (CIoJ) as the BBC’s £17m test channel in Gaelic called ALBA has been welcomed by viewers in Scotland.

Currently the BBC’s experiment of the ALBA channel will not reach the Freeview spectrum for another two years, which means that currently only a third of the Scottish population have access to the channel by FreeSat and Sky.

CIoJ conference, Scottish representative, Campbell Thomas, claimed the initial success of the venture – some 82 per cent of Gaelic speakers with access had viewed the channel – meant that the next phase should be moved on more rapidly.

“Why would any test be completed without the inclusion of the statistics for Freeview viewers’ since those are the most accessible low cost platforms in the Highlands and the Isles of Scotland and that’s where people are far more likely to be Gaelic speakers?

“Already it has been shown that 23 per cent of viewers in the Highland and Islands have watched BBC ALBA.  Bearing in mind that all experiments by the BBC are paid for by the Licence fee surely this experiment should be open to all? Freeview boxes have had their problems in Scotland but it is still the most accessible way people get digital TV.

“The Institute has written to the BBC Trust, urging them to roll this channel out to Cable and, more importantly, Freeview without further delay.  By giving everyone in Scotland the opportunity to view ALBA we will have a true reflection of how the channel will be received.”

Ends+

Press contact:  Campbell Thomas, campbellthomas@cioj.co.uk

Dominic Cooper, tel.  0207 252 1187 , email dc@cioj.co.uk

Chartered Institute of Journalists (CIoJ), 2 Dock Offices, Surrey Quays Road, London SE16 2XU. Website www.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.

Whingeing proprietors help stifle broadcasting opportunity!

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NEWS RELEASE

Release time: November 2008

The decision by the BBC Trust not to expand regional and local BBC web-sites with enhanced video news coverage has been labelled “a missed opportunity” by the Chartered Institute of Journalists.

The Institutes’ Broadcasting Division – which has members throughout the BBC – said it was ” a crying shame” that the BBC Trust had crumbled in the face of pressure from “self-interested” regional newspaper owners.

Former BBC Radio 2 newsreader Paul Leighton, Chairman of the Institute’s Broadcasting Division said:

“If regional and local newspaper proprietors want protection from the so-called “unfair competition” they claim BBC local video services would have offered, perhaps they should consider providing decent local news coverage instead of sacking editorial staff and closing or merging newsrooms.”

“Some newspaper proprietors claim they are struggling to make money from local and regional papers. They should be asking themselves whether they have caused the problem themselves – by trying to line share holders and directors’ pockets at the expense of proper news coverage and journalists’ jobs.”

He added” It’s particularly telling that local newspapers which have maintained genuinely local news coverage by keeping journalists at work in their communities – like Sir Ray Tindle’s newspaper group – continue to make money and enjoy the respect of their readers. If only other owners had chosen a similar path, instead of whingeing about “unfair competition” from the BBC.”

Journalists’ “tools of trade” are the latest to be targeted by Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith’s plans to give the police and security services more powers

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NEWS RELEASE
Release time: 22 October 2008

Mobile Phones and Emails – are to be the latest target in the Government’s proposals to fight crime and terrorism by setting up a huge database which collects so called “Communications data.”

While Ms Smith stressed the “content” of conversations would not be stored, the plans to collect more data on people’s phone, e-mail and web-browsing habits are expected to be included in the Communications Data Bill, due to be introduced in the Queen’s Speech in November.

If this giant database goes ahead it will mean that investigative journalists can be closely monitored.

CIoJ General Secretary, Dominic Cooper, said: “With the fiascoes of personal data this Government has so far managed to lose, from people getting child support through to military records, this idea has catastrophe written all over it.

“There is no validity in the proposals. They are yet another intrusion affecting working journalists.  That can never be acceptable.  It is quite obvious that people can use such data records to know who, when and where a journalist is ringing and from that take action. That is a deep and fundamental threat to any journalist investigating wrong doing in a so called democracy.”

In her speech to the Institute of Public Policy Research on Wednesday (October 15 2008), the Home Secretary said that recording of Communications Data – data about calls, such as the location and identity of the caller, is vital to target criminals and terrorists.

Mr Cooper said: “The media provides some of the most critical comment on Government and there are no safeguards to stop powerful people from using this information against journalists.

“The police already have the opportunity to track this information for serious crimes and as Ms Smith pointed out they were used to convict Ian Huntley, for the Soham murders, and those responsible for the 21/7 terrorist plots against London.  Why do we need more?

“The Police are already using every law they can think of to inhibit press photographers.  These measures will only serve to track and potentially inhibit journalists even more.”

Ends+

From Liz Justice, CIoJ Press Office, 07780 661926.

OFCOM GREEN LIGHT TO ITV IS FLAWED AS IT CONSULTS ON PUBLIC SERVICE BROADCASTING

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NEWS RELEASE
Release time: 2 October 2008

The Chartered Institute of Journalists has condemned the Broadcasting Regulator Ofcom’s decision to allow ITV companies to slash regional news coverage as “a betrayal of Public Service Broadcasting (PSB).”

The cuts will result in the loss of more than 400 jobs in regional newsrooms with a number of regions merged and output reductions. It also comes just days after Ofcom published the second phase of its review of Public Service Broadcasting ( PSB). The review finds that in order to sustain PSB programmes on channels other than the BBC, some £145-235 million in replacement funding will be required by 2012.

Chairman of the Institute’s Broadcasting Division, Paul Leighton, said “We are concerned that Ofcom’s role of maintaining effective public service broadcasting is undermined as it openly sought to smooth the path for this shabby round of job cuts and lost programming.

“What kind of regional news service will be left when big centres like Bristol and Plymouth are merged?  Has the Regulator even looked at the map let alone the very diversely different communities that live in these cities?”

The Institute’s submission in the review of PSB urged that the regional requirements of PSB could be maintained by a greater sharing of facilities with other news providers and that a re-think of Government financing along the same lines as its support to the British Film Industry should be examined.

In a detailed submission to Ofcom’s first part of the Review earlier this year, the Institute urged the Regulator not to give in to ITV proposals to reduce regional coverage as a response to falling advertising revenue. It also pointed out that a reduced level of regional news coverage would be a disincentive to advertisers and lead to an even greater loss of viewers in the longer term.

Mr Leighton, added: “In these days of the credit crunch we have sympathy with any business trying to deal with losses of revenue. CIoJ is still urging MPs to understand the crisis.”

Ofcom’s own research indicated the value that PSB is held in by the public. Losing local news coverage is just a start of the rot and Ofcom seem too caught in the financial spotlight.

CIoJ General Secretary Dominic Cooper said: “Once the fabric of this local broadcasting network has been decimated by Ofcom’s green light to ITV, it will never be replaced. Other companies will be keen to take advantage of this precedent.

“The attraction of this simple answer to the immediate problems facing ITV, and thereby PSB, are easy to comprehend. However, this quick fix solution will undoubtedly have massive long-term effects on plurality, focus and relevance of local broadcast news.”

End

Notes to editors

1.      Ofcom’s review closes on 4th December 2008 and can be found at:- http://www.ofcom.org.uk/consult/condocs/psb2_phase2/

2.      The Ofcom Review also proposes reducing the obligations on ITV plc and the other channel 3 licensees next year to make the provision of highly valued programmes – original British content and news – more sustainable until the initial expiry date of the existing licences in 2014.

3.      The biggest changes – which prioritise peak time coverage – involve a restructuring of ITV’s regional news services in England and the Scottish Borders

4.      Institute represents journalists throughout broadcasting and the written media and has been serving journalists and journalism for more than a hundred years. Its broadcasting members include household names like Kate Adie and James Alexander-Gordon.

5.      If you wish to interview someone about this subject please get in touch with The CIoJ on 020 7252 1187.

From Liz Justice, CIoJ Press Office, 07780 661926.

WAS BUSH CONSIDERING A WAR CRIME?

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NEWS RELEASE

Thursday 17 May : Release time immediate

Journalists support Al Jazeera demand for information

The Chartered Institute of Journalists (CIoJ) gives full support to the Al Jazeera request that the British authorities clarify the Daily Mirror report that the Americans were considering bombing the head office and studios of Al Jazeera until dissuaded by British prime minister Tony Blair.

Al Jazeera has issued a demand for “clarification on the Daily Mirror report on the alleged memo discussing bombing Al Jazeera”, following the jailing of civil servant David Keogh and parliamentary researcher Leo O’Connor for leaking the four page memo that revealed the disagreement between the US and UK governments on the Americans’ proposed bombing of Al Jazeera.

Al Jazeera submitted an application early last year, under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, for the disclosure of the contents of the memo, but the request was denied.

“If the President of the USA is willing to consider committing a war crime in order to silence voices with different views from his own, that is news,” says the chairman of the CIoJ’s international division, John Szemerey. “It is in the public interest that this should be known by the world at large.”

The Mirror had published a leaked report in November 2005 of a discussion between George W. Bush and Tony Blair. In that report President Bush is supposed to have raised the possible bombing of the offices of Al Jazeera in Doha, Qatar, and elsewhere.

“Had the Americans deliberately bombed the offices of Al Jazeera, that would have been against the Geneva convention and a clear war crime,” says Szemerey. “The failure of the authorities to deny the leaked report raises many questions.

“The implication is that the report is correct, and that Bush wanted to bomb Al Jazeera because he did not like its reporting of the Iraqi war and the so-called war on terror. If so, that would be an utter disgrace and a frontal attack on the freedom of the press.

“If the report is true, it raises doubts about what the Americans claim were its accidental bombings of the Al Jazeera offices in Kabul, Afghanistan, and Baghdad, Iraq.”

The Chartered Institute of Journalists would understand if the British Government did not wish to confirm the accuracy of the leaked memorandum reporting the conversation if there were comments or details affecting national security in the memo.

“But in that case,” continues Szemerey, “in view of the seriousness of the allegations that Bush wanted to bomb Al Jazeera, if the report is not true let Tony Blair issue a categorical denial and clarify if the matter was discussed, let alone mentioned.

“If Blair gives a categorical denial, hand on heart, we would of course believe him, for Tony Blair is an honorable man.”

ends+

NOTE:
The Chartered Institute of Journalists (CIoJ) was founded in 1884 as the National Association of Journalists, receiving its Royal Charter from Queen Victoria in 1890, when its name was changed to the Institute of Journalists (IoJ). The NUJ began as a breakaway from the IoJ in 1907. In 1990, to celebrate its Charter Centenary and at the suggestion of the Privy Council, the Institute’s name was changed again to the Chartered Institute of Journalists. Membership of its trade union component, the Institute of Journalists (Trade Union), is barred to any journalist with hire-and-fire responsibilities over other journalists, unlike the NUJ (which is open to certain classes of employers, such as agency proprietors). Though most are located in the United Kingdom, the CIoJ has members in more than thirty countries worldwide.