CIoJ member survey

CIoJ survey shows some clear plans on repeal for Section 40 and “NO” to Leveson Two

Almost 70% of journalists who anonymously responded to the CIoJ survey on the Government’s consultation on Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act asked for Parliament to repeal all of section 40 now.

Among the comments made were:-

“The industry was never involved en-mass with phone hacking and the tiny minority have been dealt with. Section 40 is not appropriate in an industry where multi-media is the norm.”

“I would like the CIOJ to regulate me like the GMC regulates doctors. IPSO and IMPRESS should be abolished. The press should face no more regulation than any other profession, if anything it should face less regulation in order that press freedom is protected so those with power serving in public office and beyond can be held to account.”

And one member went further saying:

“The government should also repeal sections 34 to 40 of the Crime and Courts Act. The threat of exemplary damages to any news publisher not subject to PRP recognised regulation is oppressive and a breach of Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.”

Others felt more generally aggrieved with the Lord Justice Leveson’s first Inquiry and the resulting changes to the way they work.

“Leveson has been a disaster for the Press. It has created a culture of anger, enabling those with a grudge to take it out on our profession. It has also created a cutlure of fear, making it harder for us to get information from people who are scared for their jobs if they tell us anything. The police and councils are just two organisations which have retreated behind a wall of silence, aided by press offices whose job it has become not to give out information but to hide it. This has a negative effect on democracy and makes journalists’ jobs harder.”

Another member said that this had combined with the Regulatory Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) to make their own work far more difficult.

“The chilling effect has been disastrous. A vast range of whistle-blowers, and sources from public official services and bodies have been terrified of having any communications with journalists. They fear surveillance by the police and intelligence bodies, they fear arrest, prosecution and conviction for misconduct in public office, and they fear that publishers will be threatened and bullied into surrendering their confidentiality as a journalist source.”

So when it comes to Leveson 2 and investigating the relationships with the police more than three quarters of all respondants did not want Leveson 2.

“Good money after bad. Keep politics out of newspapers. And another member said:”The journalism industry is facing existential threats in all dimensions. Does the government really want to kick it to death?”

Even where they thought a second inquiry was a good idea, it was to hold the police up to the same level of scrutiny and sort out issues.

One member said:

“As a journalist I should have greater protection from allegations, such as of harassment, than other members of the public. I had to go to court because I wrote news articles about a politician that did not like their content. I should be able to scrutinise public figure without fear of police harassment.”

The CIoJ will be responding to the joining Home Office/ Media Culture and Sports Consultation by the deadline of 5pm January 10.

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