NUJ boycotts editors' code committee consultation
14 February 2013
The NUJ is boycotting a consultation on the editors' code of practice, chaired by Paul Dacre, editor of the Daily Mail.
The union, which was a core partipant of the Leveson Inquiry, has been excluded from meetings and consultations by industry bodies and those convened by Lord Hunt, chairman of the Press Complaints Commission.
Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said:
"Despite Lord Leveson's damning criticism of the Press Complaints Commission, the Prime Minister is allowing Lord Hunt to conspire in secret with the same cronies – the proprietors and the editors of the national press.
"All negotiations now appear to be behind closed doors, with no consultation with organisations such as the NUJ, which represents media workers, nor bodies representing the public. Already the response to the inquiry appears to be a stitch up, with David Cameron doing the bidding of the national press editors and owners.
"In his recommendations Lord Leveson said 'greater transparency about meetings and contacts should be considered not just as a future project but as an immediate need, not least in relation to interactions relevant to any consideration of this report'. Are his words being ignored so soon?"
The NUJ will be boycotting the code of conduct consultation, which has been extended to 17 April, unless the union is made a member of the code committee.
The NUJ's response to the Leveson report has been to support:
- the creation of a conscience clause for journalists. The editors initially said they would accept this recommendation. It is vital for journalists to be protected from being made to act unethically and contrary to the code of practice;
- a co-regulatory body, which is independent of government and the industry;
- the introduction of third party complaints;
- limits to media ownership.
And to reject:
- Changes proposed for the Data Protection Act (DPA) and the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE)
The NUJ's code of conduct was first developed in 1936. The union has an ethics committee which is responsible for developing the NUJ's policy on ethics and provides advice for members.
The union has published a range of guidelines for journalists, such as how to report on terrorism; race; asylum and immigration; HIV; age; suicide and disability (see the ethics pages).