A “Dirty deal” – NUJ condemns Government for ignoring journalists over press regulation

28 Feb 2013  |  Ellen Hammett 
nuj1

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has condemned the Government for "conspiring" with newspaper owners to exclude journalists, phone-hacking victims and the public from playing any future part in press regulation.

The NUJ has already admonished the Government in its plans for a royal charter to lay down conditions for a press regulator, saying that the action is an attempt to undermine the Leveson report.

Harriet Harman, the Labour Party's deputy leader, has expressed concern about the apparent coalition between the Government and newspaper owners who have been isolating journalists from talks between them.

The same concerns are held by the NUJ, who worry that "secret backdoor deals" between government ministers and newspapers are currently ensuing.

It is believed that Parliament will be offered a regulator that is majority controlled by publishers that will ignore a number of already welcomed Leveson recommendations.

David Cameron hasn't remained unscathed in today's attack either and has been accused of going back on his word that he made to the Leveson Inquiry, in which he promised to support a regulator that covered all press, including journalists.

Professor Chris Frost, NUJ Ethics Council chair, said: "Newspaper owners have used their papers to present Leveson's recommendations as an attempt at statutory control of free speech - but this is complete nonsense and a dangerous lie.

"The report calls for a free press responsible to an independent self-regulatory body with wide representation including journalists and the public."

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, added: "This is more evidence that we cannot trust David Cameron - we already knew we couldn't trust the newspaper publishers.

"They have gone back on their promises to pick up the Leveson recommendations, generally seen as moderate and proportionate, and have conspired together to offer a solution that ignores journalists, excludes the public and the victims of phone hacking and serves only the interests of publishers.

"Journalists want a vibrant lively newspaper industry; this dirty deal will never lead to that."

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