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Ethical PR to be applauded, says NUJ

6 May 2016

The National Union of Journalists has sent its support to Hayley Court, former media officer at South Yorkshire Police, for speaking out against immoral spin and bullying.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said: "The NUJ is here to support press officers and others working in media relations and PR. Hayley Court highlighted a stark example of unacceptable pressure being put on communications staff by employers facing difficult media coverage. Hayley Court is an experienced expert and she had set out to report the Hillsborough inquest hearings fairly. Her approach would have served South Yorkshire Police well, but she was put under extreme pressure, which she described as bullying, by senior officials  to be a spin doctor for the force's ill-conceived position which included blaming fans for the tragic loss of life at that football game.”

Sian Jones, NUJ vice-president and representative of the PR and communications sector on the union's national executive, said: "We commend Hayley for speaking out against this approach. The NUJ has an ethical code of conduct for PR members which protects them in exactly such cases. Media workers should never feel under undue pressure to push a line they feel uncomfortable with and if their employer insists the union is here to represent them."

The code of conduct can be found here

Tags: , pr and communications, Hayley Court, south yorkshire police, hillsborough