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NUJ slams Sun for intern strip request

24 August 2012

A 21-year-old doing work experience for the Sun was asked to strip off and pose with a member of staff for mocked-up pictures of Prince Harry.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said:

"The woman who stripped for a mocked-up photo of the naked Prince Harry pictures said in statement that it was a bit of 'harmless fun' and she was not forced to do it. But she should not have been asked to in the first place.
"It was highly inappropriate of the paper to ask the young woman, who presumably wanted to impress, to do such a task. What would have happened if she had said no?
"In the evidence I presented to the Leveson Inquiry, from witness statements made by members, I was able to paint a picture of the level of bullying in some newsrooms.
"One member, who had been taunted by members of the news desk because of her weight, was forced to wear a Lady Gaga-style dress made from meat and walk the streets. When John Hendy, the NUJ's counsel, asked Rupert Murdoch about the statements made about the bullying at the News of the World, his response was, 'Why didn't she resign? ' Lord Justice Leveson then interjected, 'I think the problem with that might be that she needs a job. '
"We believe that it is no coincidence that, where unions are not recognised by newspaper organisations, a high level of bullying can flourish. That is why the NUJ is calling for the introduction of a conscience clause into journalists' contracts of employment which will allow them to refuse unethical assignments.
"We also demand that workers have the right to be represented in their workplaces so they can defend themselves from unacceptable work practices."

Tags: the sun, interns, bullying, management, Leveson, newspapers