NUJ PR & Communications branch
c/o NUJ HQ 308 Gray's Inn Road, London, WC1X 8DP.
0207 278 7916
PR & Communications Branch Organiser: Fiona Swarbrick 0208 843 3729
Chair: Debbie Cavaldoro 0776 970 5361
Vice-Chairs: Monica Foot and Mick Holder (job share) 0208 223 0712
Branch Secretary: Mark Whitehead 07906720141
Branch Treasurer: Carmel McHenry
Assistant Secretary: Sian Jones 07793314249
Newsletter Editor: Lisa Browne
Membership and Recruitment/Retention Officer: Mark Whitehead
Branch Equality Officer: Carmel McHenry 0207 226 5501
Welfare Officer and DM Convenor: Debbie Cavaldoro
Sector NEC member: Sian Jones
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Future branch meetings 2016
New Venue until further notice: London Welsh Centre, 157-163 Gray’s Inn Road, London, WC1X 8UE. The building is fully accessible. The nearest tube/station is King's Cross/St Pancras International.
Meetings: 6.30pm 11 October, 8 November and 8 December.
Council To Ban ‘non Approved’ Journalists From Press Benchby David Sharman, Hold The Front Pa
A council has been accused of seeking to become a media regulator after approving plans to restrict access to journalists who don’t ‘reflect its position.’
Tory-run Thurrock Council has launched a new communication strategy which has been branded by opposition councillors have branded as “like something out of North Korea.”
It includes a clause that journalists who do not sign up to an approved regulator will be barred from the press bench, as will those who fail to ensure right of reply or “reflect the council’s position accurately.”
The council says failure to adhere to the rules will mean “the council will not engage and recognise the organisation and/or journalist as “media” for a period of time determined by the council.”
In a tweet yesterday, journalism trainer and blogger Paul Bradshaw accused the council of “trying to act as media regulator.”
But council deputy leader Shane Hebb, above left, has defended its position.
He told hyperlocal website Your Thurrock: “Thurrock Council agreed a communications strategy at Cabinet [on 5 April]. The council recognises the important role the media play in informing the public and in communicating with residents and other stakeholders.
“Thurrock Council is a half-billion pound organisation and as such, has a duty to convey its messages fairly and quickly to residents, to be held to account and inform people about decisions which are being taken, in a way they want to receive it which is increasingly via digital means.”
“The council actively encourages the attendance of residents, partners and the media at public council meetings, enabling filming, social media commentary and reporting.
“Thurrock Council does not vet people who attend public meetings. The new strategy is simply clarifying how the council will communicate to residents as well as how it works with recognised media organisations, and how the council expects media organisations to work with us in return.”
The controversial clause reads: “Should a media outlet, or one of its journalists, fail to adhere to the regulator’s code and in particular not reflect the council’s position accurately ensuring a ‘right of reply’, the council will not engage and recognise that organisation and/or journalist as ‘media’ for a period of time determined by the council.”
But acording to Your Thurrock, opposition UKIP and Labour councillors, have pledged to fight the new rules.
UKIP’s communications Spokesman Cllr Jack Duffin said: “The Council’s new communication strategy laid out at [5 April’s] cabinet meeting looks like it has been modelled on something akin to North Korea.
“It says that if journalists write anything other than glowing praise for the Council then they will ban them. We need an independent and free media to scrutinise the way the council operates. I hope they see the light and reverse their decision.”
Thurrock Labour leader Cllr John Kent added: “This is nothing more than a thinly veiled attack on the press and seriously threatens free speech.
“It runs alongside increasing frustrations by my fellow councillors and members of the public in getting answers from the council. We will be fighting this.”
Item uploaded: Tuesday, April 11 2017
Last modified: Tuesday, April 11, 2017
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