Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said: “We are now waiting for the recommendations of Lord Justice Leveson, following the most important inquiry into the press for a generation. Already, signs are that the vested interests are mounting their defence against the status quo that has favoured the proprietors and not journalists or the public.
“We have provided evidence to the inquiry about journalists being bullied and intimidated by newsroom managements to pursue stories that are designed to raise circulation and profits rather than inform, educate and entertain readers. We have put forward the case for the introduction of a conscience clause into journalists’ contracts of employment, which will allow them to refuse unethical assignments.
“We believe it is vital for journalists to be represented in their workplaces to prevent the bullying and threats and so that they can stand up for ethical journalism. We have told the inquiry that we want a change to the system of regulation of the press to ensure that it ceases to be the plaything of media barons and that all stakeholders, including the public and journalists, are able to play a full part in ensuring higher standards of the press by holding newspapers that behave badly to account.
“John Whittingdale, chair of the Culture, Media and Sport select committee told BBC Radio 4 that Lord Justice Leveson had encouraged people with grudges against the press to ‘unburden themselves in front of him’. He also pre-empted the recommendations of the inquiry by describing statutory regulation as a ‘dangerous road’.
“The NUJ is taking part in a number of fringes at this autumn’s party conferences with Hacked Off and the Coordinating Committee for Media Reform. We will be discussing with politicians, such as Tom Watson and George Eustice, and those who gave evidence to the inquiry, including Steve Coogan and Charlotte Church, how to get the best possible outcomes from the inquiry.
“If you are attending any of the conferences come along and add your voice to the debate.”
Hacked Off fringes in partnership with CCMR and the NUJ
What future for the press post-Leveson?
Labour conference, Manchester
Chair: Des Freedman
Speakers: Michelle Stanistreet, Natalie Fenton, Brian Cathcart, Chris Jefferies, Tom Watson MP
Time: Tuesday 2 October 6pm-7.15pm
Venue Manchester Central Charter 3
Conservative conference, Birmingham
Chair: Steve Barnett
Speakers: Michelle Stanistreet, Justin Schlosberg, Martin Moore, Jacqui Hames, Charlotte Church, George Eustice
Time: Wednesday October 10 8.30am-10.30am
Venue: Birmingham ICC, Hall 5