NEWS ALERT

8 JULY 2011

The Chartered Institute of Journalists has condemned the sacking of hundreds of News of the World staff – both editorial and others.

CIoJ president Norman Bartlett said the union was appalled at the peremptory closure of the News of the World in a bid by Rupert Murdoch and News International to deflect flack over the hacking scandal.

Bartlett said: “This action, which closes a well-liked British institution, does not resolve the issue of despicable behaviour by a handful of journalists.

“It does, however, ruin the careers and finances of hundreds of hardworking employees, journalists and those following other trades and professions for News International.

“It is a cruel and unnecessary punishment on many innocent workers.

“The Chartered Institute of Journalists supports the highest standards in journalism, but deplores this action by News International.”

CIoJ general secretary Dominic Cooper has called on Prime Minister David Cameron to think very carefully before taking any action that threatens the future of the Press Complaints Commission.

This morning [Friday] Mr Cameron seemed to signal the end of the PCC’s system of self-regulation of the printed news media, saying: “The way the press is regulated today is not working”. He described the PCC as “ineffective and lacking in rigour”.

He said that an entirely new system, “truly independent” of both the Government and the Press, was needed.

At a time when everyone from Alex Salmond to the union Unite is calling for tighter regulation of the Press, Cooper warned that a knee-jerk reaction to the NotW scandal would not serve the best interests of Press freedom or the wider public good.

He said that while Mr Cameron had said a new regulatory framework should be independent of the Government, there was a serious danger that it would be nothing of the sort unless time was taken to fully and calmly assess exactly what went wrong with the PCC’s handling of the phone hacking case and how best to prevent such failures happening again.

“While the Institute appreciates the urgency of the need to look for a better system, that must be balanced by the need in a democracy to protect the freedom of the Press and to avoid introducing draconian rules that restrict the work of thousands of honest journalists who have never behaved illegally or unethically,” Cooper said.

Ends

Notes to editors:

Formed in 1884, the Chartered Institute of Journalists (CIoJ) is the world’s oldest established professional body for journalists, and a representative voice of media and communications professionals throughout the UK and the Commonwealth.

Contact: CIoJ President, Norman Bartlett, 07711 550523

 

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