Samira Ahmed’s equal pay victory inspires TUC delegates

DELEGATES at the TUC’s women’s conference in March celebrated the NUJ’s victory in winning an equal pay case for BBC presenter Samira Ahmed. Speaking at the conference, Ahmed said she read the judgment over the shoulder of Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary. “It was amazing,” she said.

“Over 40 pages, my case was so clearly set out and all the things I had been saying were now backed up by a distinguished panel. I couldn’t help hugging Michelle.” Ahmed had successfully challenged the BBC over being paid half the amount of her male predecessor on Radio 4 arts show Front Row, and being underpaid in comparison with male colleagues on Radio 3’s Night Waves. However, the BBC would not settle a third case – the fact that Jeremy Vine was being paid six times more than she was for presenting Points of View, a similar programme to Newswatch. “Every man I asked, including Jeremy Vine, told me how much they were paid,” she said. It was this cooperation

that enabled her to pull her case together. However, without the expert help of the legal team, paid for by her union, and support from Michelle and others at the NUJ, she could not have taken it forward, she said. “I talk a lot to young journalists about the importance of being a member of a union,” she said. The NUJ was represented at


the women’s conference by Natasha Hirst, Magda Ibrahim, Ann Galpin and Ann Coltart, who took part in many debates.

Ibrahim brought her experience as a journalist to bear in a motion about girls and knife crime. Seconding an Equity motion, she said: “I work as a night reporter and one of the first jobs I was sent on for my current newspaper was the stabbing of a young teenage girl. The saddest thing about her horrific death was that she had been fatally stabbed through the heart after falling onto a knife she was carrying in her own handbag. This poor 17-year-old’s brother told me she was carrying the knife as protection.”

Showing that local news matters

THE NUJ has been campaigning to show that local news matters by highlighting the reasons why communities need good- quality, well-resourced journalism. The initiative, which

follows a similar campaign

two years ago, comes as regional journalism is under increasing pressure because of job cuts and moves to relocate local journalists into central hubs, away from the areas they report on. The distancing of journalists from their

communities and the issues that matter to them is further exacerbated by the shift to online traffic and click targets. Reports that often attract the most online interest can be those with the least local importance, such as

restaurant menus and other mundane information. Seamus Dooley, NUJ

assistant general secretary, said: “Quality journalism does not just happen. It requires resources. It requires brave journalists.

And it demands supportive editors and publishers.“ Viewpoint, page 9

Turkey charges 20 over murder of Jamal Khashoggi

TURKEY has charged 20 suspects, including a former Saudi royal aide, over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in October 2018. Former Saudi deputy intelligence chief Ahmad Asiri and Saud al-Qahtani, a former aide to Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, were charged with “instigating a premeditated murder”, with the remaining 18 charged with “deliberately and monstrously killing” the journalist. Khashoggi was killed in the Saudi Consulate in

08 | theJournalist

Istanbul, where he gone to collect paperwork he needed to marry his Turkish fiancée. He had left Saudi Arabia in 2017 to go into

self-imposed exile in the US, and wrote for the Washington Post. He had been a newspaper editor and editor in chief of a broadcasting channel. He wrote articles critical of the Saudi

government and the crown prince, and had set up a political party called Democracy for the Arab World Now.

All the things I had been saying were now backed up by a distinguished panel

Samira Ahmed


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