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Magazine of the Chartered Institute of Journalists

Institute slates NUJ over press regulator

The National Union of Journalist’s (NUJ) decision to back the proposed press regulator IMPRESS has been described as “a betrayal of democracy and journalism” by the Chartered Institute of Journalists (CIoJ).

The CIoJ condemns the NUJ’s decision for giving credibility to a state backed system of punitive regulation unwanted by virtually all of the professional media in UK.

CIoJ Chief Executive Dominic Cooper says: “Not one sizeable mainstream news publisher has yet signed up to be regulated by IMPRESS. We believe that’s the genuine position of the vast majority of professional journalists in the press and associated online publishers.”

Cooper says: “It’s the job of a journalists’ trade union to hold regulators to account, to scrutinise and criticise – not join in and participate in a media freedom killing regime.”

The NUJ’s folly is yet another nail in the coffin of freedom expression in Britain, which is very sad when our world press freedom index ranking has just dropped by four places to 38- between Tonga and South Africa.”

Cooper added: “There’s nothing constructive in the NUJ helping conjure up a landscape of IPSO regulation for the majority of newspapers and IMPRESS regulation only for NUJ members and a few minor local/online publications.  It’s the least joined-up system you could get and does little to boost public confidence.”

IMPRESS Royal Charter regulation will mean exemplary damages for news publishers who do not believe this system is independent of government control and influence.  It could also mean news publishers refusing to be regulated by IMPRESS paying both sides’ legal costs even if they win media law disputes.

The CIoJ has been pressing for consensus among all mainstream publishers to run an independent system of self-regulation that has the confidence of working journalists, professional publishers and their readership.