Author Topic: Discussing press regulation and statutory underpinning  (Read 3681 times)


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Discussing press regulation and statutory underpinning
« on: November 07, 2012, 12:53:22 PM »
Earlier this week, according to a report by Press Gazette, general secretary Michelle Stanistreet was said to have "again voiced her support for the model being pushed by reform group Hacked Off" and for regulation "underpinned by statute".

Stanistreet was quoted as saying this would enable "framework for a new body to be established with clear terms of reference, and a structure that involves journalists and civil society as key stakeholders."

The comments seemed to prompt a mixed reaction from members, with much debate particularly on Twitter. As Jon Slattery blogged, the week's events have even seen "some NUJ members threatening to resign from the union and others calling for a ballot of the whole membership on the issue".

In another piece on Press Gazette written by Stanistreet herself, she insists that "right from the outset of the [Leveson] inquiry I asked members to get involved and have their say" and adds that "nothing new has been issued by the NUJ that would have led to the furore breaking out".

She also insists that "the NUJ is not advocating state control of the press – far from it".

"We want to ensure that the press can operate under a form of regulation that is independent of government and – critically – free from the control of the industry owners and editors."

We're hoping this thread will help provide a useful space for discussion on the matter. Please share your thoughts below.


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Re: Discussing press regulation and statutory underpinning
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2012, 02:45:52 PM »
The NUJ is already a political organisation far more than it is an actual body representative of industry. This latest madness, coupled with the news that they aren't going to bother seeking the views of their own members before supporting a stance attacking everything that (most of them) hold dear, could very well be the death of them. Stanistreet's already announced that the union is wavering on the brink, financially, as it is.

Would it be such a bad thing if the outdated political dinosaur that is the NUJ goes under? Who knows, but I bet you the membership department at the CIOJ will be working overtime over the next few months.

Sadly, in this celebrity-cult driven age, I can see Hacked Off succeeding in their desire to muzzle the free press and make it totally subject to their members' whims. Too many famous faces have too many things to hide, as the BBC Savile scandal's showing us.


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Re: Discussing press regulation and statutory underpinning
« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2012, 02:08:44 PM »
There's been a lot of misrepresentation about the NUJ's stance on media regulation.  The union made a recommendation to Leveson to consider the Irish system of self-regulation.  Because this involves minor legal measures it's been described as statutory regulation.  That's quite untrue.
Statutory regulation means a system set up by parliamentary statute - one which is enforced by statutory force. The NUJ is proposing the Irish system and that is one of SELF-regulation. The Press Council of Ireland was set up on Jan 1st 2008 by the National Newspapers of Ireland (the Irish equivalent of Pressbof) and the NUJ without any government involvement at all.
What confuses some people is the fact that in 2009, a new Irish Defamation Act provided privilege for a body conforming to a set of rules identical to those of the PCI. In other words, government provided an element of statutory protection for a self-regulatory body. Some people have been getting their legal underpinnings in a twist ever since.
A self-regulatory body isn't suddenly transformed into a statutory one when privilege is conferred upon it. The PCI still works in the way it did before the 2009 act, it just has an added protection.
This distinction is very important. The Irish proposal avoids the kind of political interference in editorial decision-making that real statutory regulation can bring. People should get out the history-books and look up Tony Worthington's 1989 Right of Reply Bill if they want to find out what real statutory regulation is all about.
 Then some of them might well consider the available options and thank the NUJ for providing an alternative which can satisfy the competing claims on this matter.