Thursday, June 28

France: Searches and seizures carried out at "L'Equipe" and "Le Point" newspapers were disproportionate to the interest of democratic society in ensuring and maintaining a free press

In today's (28/06/12) Chamber judgment in the case of Ressiot and Others v. France (application no. 15054/07), which is not final, the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been: a violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The case concerned investigations carried out at the premises of L'Equipe and Le Point newspapers and at the homes of journalists accused of breaching the confidentiality of a judicial investigation. The authorities wanted to identify the source of the leaks in an investigation into possible doping in cycle racing. Searches were carried out at the newspaper offices and the journalists' homes: equipment was seized and lists of telephone calls were placed under seal. The five journalists were released for lack of evidence.

The Court found that the Government had not shown that a fair balance had been struck between the various interests involved. It reiterated that "the considerations to be taken into account by the Convention institutions for their review under paragraph 2 of Article 10 tip the balance of competing interests in favour of the interest of democratic society in securing a free press" (see Goodwin v. the United Kingdom). The measures taken were not reasonably proportionate to the legitimate aim pursued, having regard to the interest of a democratic society in ensuring and maintaining the freedom of the press.

Wednesday, June 27

Stop UK Enabling Shell's Human Rights Violations in Nigeria
Shell has a murky history in Nigeria, where it has a practical monopoly on the country’s oil. The multinational's environmental infractions in Nigeria are well documented, with spill after spill ruining ecosystems and people's lives. There have been over 2,000 oil spills in the Niger delta, many extremely serious. Clean up and compensation has been scanty, when it exists at all.

In a US court case, the corporation is also accused of "aiding and abetting" gross human rights violations. The UK Government has decided to intervene in the case on Shell's behalf, based on a very narrow (but convenient) interpretation of international law.

This interpretation of international law is a deeply suspect act on the part of the UK Government. Tell the UK Government that it should not be trying to help multinationals get away with human rights violations and to withdraw its support immediately.
You can sign the petition here . . . .

Asbestos– An Ever Present Danger

Mesothelioma Day 2012 Calls For Global Ban On Asbestos

Each year more than 4,500 people die from asbestos-related diseases, a figure expected to rise to more than 10,000 deaths annually by 2020

Action Mesothelioma Day 2012, which is to be held on Friday 6th July, will this year focus its attention on calling for a Global Ban on Asbestos and has adopted the Forget-Me-Not as a poignant symbol.

Around the country, many local groups, national organisations and charity trusts will stage events, from Tayside in Scotland to Southsea in Hampshire, as well as in former asbestos industry ‘blackspots’ of the North East of England and the Midlands.

Events for Action Mesothelioma Day 2012 are currently scheduled to be held at Tayside, Sheffield, Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, Leicester and Southsea.


Monday, June 25

Shock at the BBC as reporters are told to start making money

There are fears for the future editorial independence of the BBC after news journalists were ordered to come up with money-generating ideas for the corporation, a leaked email reveals.

BBC bosses have told reporters to think of money-making schemes and present them to their line managers at forthcoming job appraisals – raising concerns that the organisation's prized editorial standards will be compromised by commercial imperatives.

Read more: Ian Burrell, Independent, Monday 25 June 2012

Thursday, June 14

Birmingham and Coventry branch NUJ - June Branch Meeting

Thursday 21st June 2012
Belgrade Theatre
Belgrade Square
Corporation Street

Assemble 6:00 pm for 6:30 pm Start

Guest speaker Barry Fitzpatrick NUJ Deputy General Secretary

1) Introduction by chair/those attending

2) Minutes of May meeting /  uncorrected minutes attached

3) Secretary/Treasurers reports

4) Branch reports

5) Up date on disputes

6) State of the NUJ - Barry Fitzpatrick

7)   Any other business

Saturday, June 9

Free Health Reporter Training at Coventry University, EU funded project

For your information - there are still places for Health Reporter training in Coventry - please read below for more details.


British health journalists are being offered up to 4 days of FREE training this summer, in an EU funded project to improve the quality of health reporting. Two days will be delivered in London (June 11-12), and two in Coventry (June 14-15). Editors and employers are also invited to arrange customised sessions for staff in their workplaces. The training has the support of the NUJ and the Medical Journalists Association.
The HeaRT (Health Reporter Training) program has taken sample polls of journalists in all seven partner countries (Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Romania, Spain, and the UK) to determine their background training, and what additional support they may find useful. Most journalists in the polling said they preferred face to face training.
A package of training sessions has been designed, and online resources will also be available over the summer for those staff and freelance journalists who cannot attend the courses in person, or who want to follow up on some of the issues as a result of attending a course. The British sessions will cover eight of the topics:
  • The Business & Economics of Health Care
  • Medical Research and Science
  • Health Care Quality and performance
  • Health Policy: government health reforms
  • Understanding hospital and other financial reports
  • Health inequalities
  • Global Health
  • How to evaluate conflicts of interest
CLICK HERE for more details of the British training sessions.Dr John Lister can be contacted by e-mail or on 07774 264112.
NOTE: The courses are free of charge, but spaces are limited, and the project is required to deliver a certain number of training opportunities. So to reserve a place, journalists should send a refundable deposit cheque for £50, dated June 11 2012, and made out to Coventry University to:

Dr John Lister, Media Department, Coventry University, Priory Street, Coventry CV1 5FB.
All cheques will be returned on arrival at the commencement of the training. Places can only be confirmed when the cheque is received, and will be allocated on a first-come first-served basis.

Thursday, June 7

New report reveals 76 trade unionists were murdered last year
The situation faced by trade unionists across the world grew steadily worse in 2011, according to the annual survey of trade union rights violations published today by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).

This year’s survey, which examines 143 countries, found that 76 trade unionists murdered in 2011, with thousands more dismissed and arrested. The Americas is still the most deadly region for trade unionists, while Arab Spring workers paid dearly as they marched towards democracy.
Read more: by Tim Lezard - Union News, 6th June 2012

Wednesday, June 6

“Violence against journalists remains a special category of crime, as it is a direct attack on society and democracy itself”

Continued attacks in Europe: journalists need protection from violence

Journalism is a dangerous profession, including in Europe. Since the beginning of this year, journalists have suffered physical attacks in Azerbaijan on a number of occasions, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania and Russia. Governments should treat violence against journalists with the utmost seriousness, as such attacks aim at the core of our democracies.

Often, the perpetrators of the attacks are unknown assailants, usually several masked men, but sometimes they have been riot police or state sponsored security guards.

Read more: Nils Muiznieks European Commissioner for Human Rights, 05/06/12