Is the NUJ riddled with political correctness, left-wing bias and has this affected media reporting of sensitive and controversial issues?
The NUJ is the union in the UK, Ireland and parts of Europe for journalists and others that work in the media industry. According to its website it was founded in 1907, has 38,000 members and is among the biggest and best-established journalists’ unions in the world.
However, if one looks closely at its code of conduct, rules, guidelines and campaigns (which can be seen on its website) it appears to be obsessed with political correctness.
Could this have hindered the reporting of sensitive events such as the Muslim paedophile grooming gangs that have been operating for years without being highlighted by the mainstream media?
Does it unfairly overlook the native English/British people?
Does it try to downplay reporting of the current ‘out of control’ immigration situation in the UK when there is strong opposition to mass immigration?
Does it seek to interfere in the reporting of democratically elected political parties that it does not agree with?
In short has it managed to ‘pull the wool over the eyes’ of the British people?
Digital Journal contacted Michelle Stanistreet, General Secretary of the NUJ on 15 February 2012 and is still waiting for a response to the following questions that, in light of the enormous power that the NUJ has in the British/Irish media, the public have a right to know the answer to:
1. Do you believe that the NUJ has a history of left-wing bias?
On Monday 12 September 2011, you wrote an article entitled ‘NUJ: EDL intimidation must be stopped, but it will not put off journalists’. This article can be viewed on the Morning Star’s website. According to the Morning Star website, “Originally published as the Daily Worker, the paper was launched as the organ of the Communist Party of Great Britain.”
1. Do you think that it is appropriate for the General Secretary of the NUJ to be seen to be working for a far-left, Communist organisation?
2. Have you ever written any articles about the intimidation and violence used by far-left organisations, such as UAF, which has, for example, been involved in attacking political opponents with darts and claw hammers?
In this article you used emotive words and phrases to describe the EDL, such as “poisonous hatred”, “homophobic rants”, “racist violence”, and “…carry on documenting and exposing the EDL’s thuggish brutality in action”.
You tried to make a comparison between the EDL and Oswald Mosley’s blackshirts.
1. The EDL recently protested peacefully in Hyde and Leicester. Will you now do your utmost to correct this harmful inaccuracy in accordance with the NUJ’s Code of Conduct, professional principle number three?
2. Do you believe that you adequately differentiated between fact and your personal opinion about the EDL in accordance with professional principle number four of the NUJ’s Code of Conduct?
Reporting the BNP
On the NUJ website there used to be a link on the left-hand side entitled ‘Reporting the BNP’, another link under ‘Campaigns’ at the top and a further link to a separate NUJ website 'www.reportingthebnp.org’. With regard to these links, I would like to ask the following questions:
1. Why have these links been removed?
2. Exactly when were these links removed?
3. Who took the executive decision to remove these links?
4. Why is it specifically the BNP that is targeted by the NUJ?
5. Why are other organisations, such as the National Front, not targeted, when its policies are even more radical than those of the BNP?
6. Why are no radical parties on the far-left (such as the Communist Party or Socialist Party) targeted to ensure balance?
7. Does the NUJ believe that it should interfere in the democratic process by ensuring that a particular, perfectly legal political party is singled out and treated differently by the media industry?
Black Members’ Council (BMC)
On the application form for joining the Black Members’ Council, people can describe themselves as ‘mixed’, ‘Asian’, ‘Black’, ‘Chinese’, ‘Middle Eastern/North African’, etc. In fact anybody can join, so long as they are not white, even if they are not black (such as Chinese people).
The purpose of the BMC includes: ‘Opposing and publicising, where possible, cases of racial discrimination within the union’ (Rule 19biii).
1. Does the NUJ realise that it could be seen as being somewhat ironic for a group that has supposedly been set up to oppose racial discrimination to discriminate itself, along racial lines, by refusing to allow members of a certain race, namely the white race, to join?
2. Does the NUJ recognise that racism can also be directed towards white people, by other races?
3. If so, which body within the union (if any) will oppose and publicise any racial discrimination suffered by white members?
The NUJ has an Irish Executive Council, a Scottish Executive Council and a Welsh Executive Council.
1. Why is there no English Executive Council?
‘Race Relations Subjects’
The NUJ has guidelines that its members must follow when dealing with ‘race relations subjects’.
It specifically mentions ‘immigration and asylum’, ‘race reporting’, ‘racist organisations’ and ‘travellers’.
1. How does the NUJ define a ‘racist organisation’?
2. Is, for example, the Black Members Council a ‘racist organisation’ as it prohibits white members from joining?
3. These guidelines tell journalists to “be careful not to exaggerate or use phrase [sic] or terms that promote prejudice or fear, e.g. “floods of immigrants””. However, the Migration Watch UK website, which is often quoted by news outlets as a reliable source of information on immigration matters, uses terms such as ‘governments have lost control’, ‘massive inflow’, ‘massive increase’ and ‘far higher than at any time in our history’. Therefore, does the NUJ accept that it might be communicating to its journalists to play down the reality of the situation and that in fact ‘floods’ might be an accurate metaphor to use to describe the current, out of control, immigration situation in the UK?
4. These guidelines state that the NUJ believes that immigration is due to a ‘global phenomenon’. What does the NUJ mean by ‘global phenomenon’?
5. Migration Watch states that the massive increase in immigration since 1997 was not the result of globalisation. The view of migration watch is that the cause was the previous (Labour) government’s ‘acts and omissions’. Does the NUJ agree that this is not consistent with their position on immigration?
Child grooming gangs
With regard to the specific issue of the grooming of white girls, that has taken place in certain northern towns, by those of a common national, racial or religious background:
1. Does the NUJ recognise that certain aspects within the NUJ’s Guidelines such as those on ‘Race Reporting’ and ‘Reporting the BNP’ would have made it difficult or impossible for members of the NUJ to highlight this issue without potentially being subject to disciplinary action?
2. If so, what changes to its reporting Guidelines will the NUJ implement in order to ensure that the public is made aware of serious issues, where the common national, ethnic or religious background of perpetrators is clearly a factor?
3. Does the NUJ accept that at times there could be a conflict between a journalist being able to comply with professional principles one to four of the NUJ’s Code of Conduct and professional principle number nine at the same time?
4. Does the NUJ agree that it is the journalist’s job to report the truth and facts and that if in so doing, this results in some form of hatred or discrimination towards the group being reported about, then it is not the fault of the journalist (messenger), but rather the fault of the individuals from that specific group that have brought it into disrepute?
‘Rule 4 Contributions and levies’ allows asylum seekers to be a member for only £10 for 2 years whereas full membership can cost up to £267.80 per year. However, they are not entitled to unemployment benefits or a press card.
1. Does the NUJ believe that it treats asylum seekers more favourably than the native British?
Digital Journal is still awaiting a reply to these questions.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com