NUJ submits Newsquest Cumbria IPSO complaint
18 December 2018
Journalists working at Newsquest Cumbria have reported their own newspaper to the industry regulator, the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO), for its biased reporting of strike action being held this week on Thursday 20 December.
Editorial staff at The Cumberland News are walking out on strike on Thursday in response to low pay, staffing cuts and the company’s approach to journalistic quality and standards.
The newspaper's coverage of the strike action to be taken by its own staff reported comments from the company and not the union or the strikers.
The union, which saw a 100 per cent vote in favour of strike action from staff at the paper, following an 85 per cent turnout in the ballot, was given no right of redress.
The first tenet of the IPSO code of conduct is a commitment to fairness, stating that the press must take care not to publish inaccurate, distorted or misleading information.
IPSO calls on its members - including Newsquest - to maintain the highest professional standards, balancing the rights of the individual with the public's right to know. It adds that it is essential that the code be honoured not only to the letter but in the full spirit. This implies that printing a story regarding industrial action without putting both sides in the piece is irresponsible and unfair and the union is consequently appealing to IPSO.
The company's reporting of legal industrial action in this way shows the organisation's lack of commitment to quality journalism, including fair and balanced reporting.
Newsquest is the second largest publisher of regional and local newspapers in the UK. The company dominates the local media in Cumbria.
Newsquest should use its media power and influence to report responsibly and fairly.
Chris Frost, chair of the NUJ ethics council, said:
"This is the first time that the NUJ has complained to IPSO. We are doing so on behalf of the journalists who work for The Cumberland News who are taking strike action on Thursday. Management clearly do not support the action, but they should at least put both sides in the newspaper. This is basic journalism. By not doing so Newsquest has shown its contempt for both the journalists and journalism itself."