DM 2012: Frances O'Grady on why the UK press is not free
Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ General Secretary, with Frances O'Grady, TUC General Secretary-elect - © Photo: Mark Pinder
5 October 2012
Delegate Meeting 2012
Frances O'Grady, TUC general secretary elect and NUJ member, addressed DM saying that a tame press is about as useful as an apology from Nick Clegg… or Kelvin MacKenzie.
She paid tribute to Michelle Stanistreet and the union's stance on ethical journalism, its stand against police production orders to confiscate journalists' material and its campaign against unpaid internships in the industry. She also sent a message of solidarity to journalists at Newsquest York taking action over their pay freeze.
"We do not have a free press while it is in the hands of a small clique of right-wing press barons. The scandal of what happened at News International shows what happens when corporate power is left unchecked by the unions."
She said that the newspaper industry was facing difficult times and that the BBC is experiencing the toughest time in living history. Eslewhere, the economy is being hit by the government's policies of austerity which are putting hundreds of public servants out of work, slashing public services and precipitating a mass privatisation from the NHS to criminal justice system.
"The pain has only just begun. That is why in the long run the best recovery strategy is to recruit, organise and energise the next generation of trade union members because there has never been a greater need for a strong union movement."
And that is why, she said, NUJ members should join the rest of the trade union movement on October 20 march to make the case for new economic strategy and let the government find out what happens when the real Big Society bites back.