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Stanistreet to set out views at Leveson debate

National Union of Journalists’ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet will defend her views on press regulation at a public debate on the Leveson Inquiry.

The Bristol branch of the NUJ has organised the debate on 27 November, with Lord Justice Leveson expected to publish his report on the future regulation of the industry around that time.

Michelle has come under fire from publishers for supporting a new regulatory framework for the industry “underpinned” by statute – but she denies this amounts to statutory regulation.

She said: “We believe that if we are to achieve independent, accountable regulation it needs to be underpinned by statute enabling a 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.

“This is absolutely not the same as state regulation, far from it. Our model is based on the system in Ireland, where a Press Council was established together with a Press Ombudsman.”

The event has been organised in partnership with the Bristol Festival of Ideas and the University of the West of England and also speaking will be Mick Hume, author of There is No Such Thing as a Free Press.     It takes place at the Watershed in Bristol at 7pm and tickets, which cost £7 or £5 for concessions and NUJ members, are available by contacting 0117 927 5100.


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  • November 7, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    Of course the NUJ is in favour of a regulatory system ‘underpinned by statute or, in less weasellywords, statutory regulation.

    Trades unions are all about control, and in the days of the closed shop the NUJ exerted a very considerable degree of control over its (to a large extent) unwilling and coerced membership.

    When legislation outlawed the closed shop, the NUJ lost many members and much influence. No doubt the union believes it would have membership of any beefed-up regulatory system based on statute, and would recover some of its lost influence.

    It is also likely that the NUJ would attempt to be involved in any licensing of journalists, should that crazy idea take root. No doubt such a system exists elsewhere in Europe but many countries (I have some knowledge of the situation in France) cannot claim to have a truly independent press.

    It is the task of newspapers to embarrass and expose wrong-doing in the community, There is much (justified) talk of decline but last week my local weekly paper carried a superb expose of a series of major ( fatal in at least one case) blunders at a hospital.

    The hospital PR people tried their best to prevent the story appearing, using the laughable ploy that such coverage could frighten other patients.

    Any talk of statutory regulation will give encouragement to those in many walks of life (not just a few discontented luvvies or fraudulent politicians) who have an interest in muzzling our free press.

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  • November 7, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    The press, and media in general, must be entirely free to investigate and expose wrongdoing in public life.

    It would be ridiculous for us to be constrained by regulation, while any Tom, Dick and Harry with a Twitter account can upload whatever they like to the internet.

    We live in a democracy and are about to commemorate Armistice Day, when we remember servicemen who died for free speech.

    Anyone who wants to tell us what to print can take a running jump, as far as I’m concerned.

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