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Journalists scorn Dacre's 'nonsense' licensing plan

8 February 2012

The plan by Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre to issue journalists with revocable licences has been ridiculed by journalists and their union.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said Paul Dacre's proposal, outlined at the Leveson inquiry into media standards, was "complete nonsense."

She said the NUJ already ran one of the most popular press card schemes and union members had to abide by a code of conduct or risk losing their membership.

"The NUJ is a democratic organisation which gets its authority and credibility from its members - a card issued by Dacre's cronies will be used as yet another tool for newspaper bosses to intimidate their staff."

Contributors to a Media Society debate in London in the wake of Paul Dacre's suggestion also poured cold water on the licensing idea.

Westminster University's Professor Steven Barnett said it was wrong to blame journalists for poor press standards.

"The culture and ideology is imposed from above. Look at the Mail and the Express. The journalists are told 'go and get me this story and fit it into this template'."

Former editor of the BBC College of Journalism, Kevin Marsh, said the proposal was extraordinary and sounded like the way journalists were treated in China and Zimbabwe.

Professor Ivor Gaber of City University said he was horrified at the idea that a new press body would be able "to licence journalists and withdraw their licences".

Tags: , leveson, paul dacre, regulation, press cards