NUJ motion about the targeting of journalists

 The following is the motion passed at the National Union of Journalist’s Delegate Meeting (DM) in Newcastle at the week end.

The motion was submitted by the New Media Industrial Council (NMIC) and was then amended by the National Executive Council (NEC).

All of the NEC amendments were accepted by NMIC.

I spoke to this amended motion and it was passed unanimously by DM.

LNM 14 (Far right attacks on journalists)

This Delegate Meeting notes with concern the growing targeting of journalists including threats of violence against them and their families by far right groups in the UK using blogs, Facebook, message boards and Twitter.

These attacks have grown in the context of the publication on 8th September 2012 of NUJ member Phil Mac Giolla Bhain’s book ‘Downfall’.

DM notes that the abusive tone of much of the abuse was underpinned by the racism and sectarianism that too often can be heard on Scottish football terraces. This conference instructs the NEC to work with the SEC to examine organising a training programme for NUJ members in Scotland to heighten their awareness of anti-Irish and other forms of racism amongst Scottish football supporters.

DM further notes the statement in September 2012 from the Scottish Executive Council on this matter.

This DM believes that any attack on a journalist is an attack on journalism and an assault on democracy. DM notes that this campaign of abuse follows threats against and actual physical attacks on journalists by the EDL and associated groups and, chillingly, death threats against a journalist covering loyalist paramilitaries in Northern Ireland.

DM notes that many of these campaigns have engaged the tactic employed by many contemporary far right groups of attempting to portray those who seek to expose racism and hatred as being racist themselves, for example, the video on Youtube posted by a UKIP supporter purporting to expose “Anti-white racism at the National Union of Journalists”.

DM recalls the long-running NUJ campaign seeking to close the far right Redwatch hate site. DM instructs the NEC to examine whether lessons can be learnt from that campaign and to redouble efforts to seek to force the police to take seriously the issue of online targeting of journalists in all jurisdictions in which the NUJ works.

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