Friday, May 27

NUJ Left - Quality Journalism, Social Justice, Peace and Equality

The NUJ Left will be holding an annual general meeting

Saturday 4 June 2011
St Aloysius social club
20 Phoenix Road
London NW1 1TA.

The meeting will start at noon and finish at 4:00pm.

The provisional agenda is:

1) NUJ disputes.

2) 30 June, the day the civil service union, PCS, and education unions have proposed for co-ordinated strike action over cuts and pensions.

3) Union matters.

4) Election for post of deputy general secretary of the NUJ. We will hopefully be running a hustings for this post. If any prospective candidate would like to address the meeting them please contact the NUJ Left.

5) AOB, elections for NUJ committee.

There will be a pooled fare where people in London help subsidise travel costs of those from outside London.

NUJ members wanting to attend the meeting can join on the door

(Joining fee £6, equivalent to six months subs for the NUJ Left)

Tuesday, May 24

Early day motion 1840: BBC Radio Leeds, Radio Sheffield And Radio York
That this House believes the three Yorkshire radio stations BBC Radio Leeds, BBC Radio Sheffield and BBC Radio York, are much-loved and -valued institutions, each providing a distinctive service to their respective communities; is deeply concerned about the pilot shared programme in the afternoon opting out of local programmes which, during snow or floods, will result in a loss of vital information and has already resulted in the loss of Paulette Edwards at BBC Radio Sheffield, one of the few African-Caribbean presenters of a mainstream programme; and is concerned that this pilot might provide a blueprint for other local BBC stations to follow.
<> Primary sponsor: Paul Blomfield, Date tabled: 23.05.2011

Put your MP to work demand they sign EDM 1846
Early Day Motions are very good ways of raising issues in parliament, which may not get debated in normal sittings of parliament.
You can contact your MP for free, through: WriteToThem.Com

Tuesday, May 17

Must journalists attend court hearings to report accurately?

UK Human Rights Blog, May 17, 2011 by Adam Wagner

On the one hand, it would be onerous for journalists to spend their days at the courts in the hope of picking up something interesting to report on. This may even lead to them sexing up the cases they do happen to see in order to find a story. And hearings are not always open to the public.

On the other, this is what court reporters do and have done since the time of Dickens (in fact, Dickens was a court reporter in his youth). Hearings are sometimes closed to the public but they are mostly open. And it would be odd if football journalists suddenly stopped attending matches and instead relying on a post-match interview with one of the players to piece together their report. One would always assume the report would be unbalanced and inaccurate.

Read the full article here . . . .

Monday, May 16

Information is a source of power for those challenging the abuse of power by states and other institutions.

The year 2010 may well be remembered as a watershed year when activists and journalists used new technology to speak truth to power and, in so doing, pushed for greater respect for human rights. It is also the year when repressive governments faced the real possibility that their days were numbered.

Introduction to Amnesty International Annual report 2011

Thursday, May 12

Disabled marchers turn out in thousands for benefits protest
Many of the demonstrators fear that, despite changes that have already affected them disproportionately, the worst is yet to come
Karen McVeigh,, Wednesday 11 May 2011

Early day motion 1791: Impact Of Government Reforms On Disabled People
That this House believes that it is the sign of a responsible society that it supports disabled people to lead an independent and fulfilling life; further believes that, while reform is needed, the Government's current plans are causing unnecessary uncertainty and creating risks for disabled people up and down the country; further believes that the Government has failed to appreciate the cumulative impact of the changes it is proposing; further believes that ill-thought through reform of disability benefits could push thousands of disabled people into poverty; considers it irresponsible to time limit to one year the payment of contributory employment and support allowance which will affect people suffering from cancer and fluctuating conditions; calls on the Government to abandon plans to remove the mobility component of disability living allowance from 80,000 people in residential care homes; further calls on the Government to retain automatic entitlement for people who have severe impairments, meaning that blind people, the mentally impaired and double amputees will not have to face the distress of applying for support that they genuinely need; expresses serious concern that 100,000 families with disabled children will see their support halved as a result of the decision to replace the disability element of child tax credit; and further believes that disabled people should have to wait only three months rather than six months before they can apply for the new personal independence payment.
Primary sponsor: Anas Sarwar, Date tabled: 11.05.2011

Early day motion 1797: Radar's MP Disability Dialogue Campaign
That this House recognises the importance of engaging with disabled people and increasing diversity in political life; notes that in 2010 a poll showed 88 per cent. of disabled people felt that their voices were not heard by elected representatives; further notes that only 32 per cent. of people with learning disabilities voted; regrets that this House has so few hon. Members with a declared disability; welcomes Radar's MP Disability Dialogue which aims to encourage disabled people and local disability organisations to engage in the democratic process and feel more confident about meeting their MPs and to give hon. Members of all parties increased confidence to communicate with and represent their disabled constituents effectively; and therefore calls on all hon. Members to participate in the Dialogue which starts on 12 May 2011 and runs until the end of June 2011.
Primary sponsor: Anne McGuire, Date tabled: 11.05.2011

Disability Dialogue Campaign Website - Click here . . . .

Put your MP to work demand they sign EDM 1791 and 1797
Early Day Motions are very good ways of raising issues in parliament, which may not get debated in normal sittings of parliament.
You can contact your MP for free, through: WriteToThem.Com

Friday, May 6

Early day motion 1779: La Nación Newspaper in Chile
That this House is concerned that the Chilean government is threatening to close the printed edition of La Nacin newspaper with 600 jobs at risk; believes that La Nacin has a record of being a champion for the public interest; notes that the workers at the newspaper have had to resort to the courts to prevent sackings and to maintain pay and conditions; further believes that the right to information is a fundamental human right; and calls on the Chilean government to listen to the views of the workers and stakeholders at La Nacin and to meet the trade union National Federation of Media Workers (FENATRAMCO) as a matter of urgency to resolve this dispute.
Primary sponsor: Jeremy Corbyn, Date tabled: 05.05.2011

Put your MP to work demand they sign EDM 1779
Early Day Motions are very good ways of raising issues in parliament, which may not get debated in normal sittings of parliament.
You can contact your MP for free, through: WriteToThem.Com

Thursday, May 5

May meeting NUJ - Birmingham & Coventry Branch

Come and hear Jeremy Dear, the leader of the union for the past ten years, talk about the Media and Democracy, along with news of the NUJ's latest campaigns, and his thoughts about the future.

Agenda and Calling Notice

Tuesday 17th May - 6:00 pm for 6.30pm start

Red Peppers Restaurant & Bar
117 Wharfside Street
The Mailbox
Birmingham B1 1RF

1) Introduction by chair/those attending / apologies
2) NUJ retiring General Secretary to address those attending
3) Minutes of March meeting
4) Secretary/Treasurers reports
5) Ballot on industrial action against BBC compulsory redundancies
6) Branch reports/national reports
7) Any other business

All members are invited to attend. Light refreshments will be available. The venue is only a short walk from the BBC at the Mailbox.

Blog gets national recognition!

Birmingham and Coventry NUJ's blog has been included asa  link on the branch pages of the national website. Hopefully, this will increase the number of hits we get and makes it a very worthwhile addition to branch publicity.

Many thanks to Sarah Kavanagh at the NUJ Head Office for sorting this out for us.

And the link to the national website is here:

Wednesday, May 4

Employees at the Equalities and Human Rights Commission took strike action today against proposals to cut funding by 68% and staffing by 66%. Workers at the Birmingham office and call centre took to the streets to make their point. Boosted by support from the public and passing motorists workers commited to fighting cuts which will mean closing the public helpline which advises people of their rights and will mena the closure of regional offices.
One worker on the picket line said, "It is not just about our jobs, it is about support for the public at a time when they are facing discrimination and are having a really hard time. The services we provide may not get headlines but are invaluable to the thousands of people who rely on the EHRC for justice."
You can show your support for EHRC staff and the work thye do by signing the online petition at:
Alternatively sign up to the Facebook page, "Save the Equality and Human Rights Commission" or email your MP and Trevor Phillips via the PCS website at:
Council of Europe and PEN International call for stronger protection of freedom of expression

- The Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjørn Jagland, and the President of PEN International, John Ralston Saul, today made the following joint statement to mark World Press Freedom Day on 3 May. They added that they are making this joint statement to express their concern over the growing threats to freedom of expression.

“Journalists and writers across the world are imprisoned and silenced every year for saying or writing things that did not please those in power. Now we are witnessing the imprisonment of bloggers, citizen journalists, web-activists – even simple Internet users, for legitimately exercising their right to freedom of expression.

It has never been easier to exercise our rights to expression and information, but it has also never been easier to interfere with them.

When freedom of expression cannot be exercised fully by media professionals or by writers, the freedom of each of us, of every citizen, is endangered. Our rights to receive information and to freely form and to hold views and opinions are limited. Our right to informed participation is eroded. Ultimately, democracy is compromised.

Freedom of speech is one of the essential pillars of a genuine democracy, it requires extraordinary protection. This is enshrined in Article 19 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights, Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

We urge all governments, civil society actors, technical communities and the private sector to work together to protect freedom of expression in our common interest” Mr. Jagland and Mr. Saul said. “The Council of Europe and PEN International, drawing on our respective strengths, are currently looking at ways that we can cooperate to this end.
Council of Europe Directorate of Communication ”Strasbourg/London, 03.05.2011