Join the fight for a genuine Freedom of Information service

THE NUJ is urging journalists in the UK to submit “Subject Access Requests”, in order to establish just how the government is centrally managing Freedom of Information (FoI) applications from the media. The union is also keen to find out what information Whitehall is holding on journalists and their requests Media reports have highlighted the existence of a clearing house based at the Cabinet Office that is managing and coordinating FoI requests from across government. The NUJ is concerned that this amounts to illegitimate monitoring and risks journalists being put on a ‘blacklist’.

The union is asking journalists to submit Subject

letter was signed by the editors of The Times, the Telegraph, the Financial Times, the Guardian, and the Mirror among others. Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ

Access Requests to the same government departments as they have previously submitted their FoI requests. The NUJ’s call comes after an openDemocracy public letter, signed by the NUJ and other media industry leaders, demanding MPs urgently investigate the government’s current approach to FOI. The

general secretary, said:“At the core of all public interest journalism is the urge to search out information, shine light in dark corners, scrutinise and hold power to account. The media industry is united in backing a campaign to expand the right to information and secure greater transparency in public life. We want government to be less secretive, not more.” Download the NUJ

template letter to submit a subject access request. Access guidance on a Subject Access Request from the Information

Delegate meeting is set for late May

THE POSTPONED NUJ delegate meeting will take place online in the third week of May with decision making concentrated on Friday 21st and Saturday 22nd.

The biennial delegate meeting, which sets the union’s policies and

Fresh threats in Northern Ireland

THE UNION has renewed calls to identify and punish those who threaten journalists in Northern Ireland. The latest call comes in

response to graffiti appearing across East Belfast which threatened Sunday World journalist Patricia Devlin. The name of the reporter was sprayed onto the wall in at least two locations and was accompanied by the image of a crosshair of a gun. Repeated death threats

targeting journalists come amid a dangerously hostile climate in Northern Ireland for the media, and they also imply that previous police action has been insufficient. Seamus Dooley, Irish

secretary, said: “This menacing graffiti is the behaviour of thugs who are trying to intimidate a specific journalist, but they are also trying to send a warning message to other media workers.”

programme of work, was due to be held in Southport in April last year but had to be postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic. Most unions are currently grappling with the logistics of holding conferences online including the crucial

aspect of facilitating voting as it isn’t yet clear when large in-person meetings will be allowed to go ahead. The delegate meeting will be supplemented by other online events and training sessions staged in the week starting May 17.

We want government to be less secretive, not more

Michelle Stanistreet NUJ general secretary


BBC WORLD NEWS BANNED BY CHINA China has banned BBC World News from broadcasting in the country. The move follows Ofcom’s decision to revoke the broadcast licence of the China Global Television Network. China’s State Film TV and Radio Administration, said BBC World News reports did not meet ‘the requirement that news should be truthful and fair’ and not ‘harm China’s national interests’.

GOVERNMENT BACKS DOWN ON EXIT PAY The Government has revoked the Restriction of Public Sector Exit Payments Regulations 2020, which imposed a cap of £95,000 on exit payments including at the BBC. The NUJ was part of a legal challenge against the implementation of the regulations, saying it compromised equal pay settlements and undermined collective terms.

NUJ LAUNCHES REVAMPED WEBSITE The NUJ has relaunched its website to make it more user friendly, informative and interactive. It has been redesigned and features new pages and an online joining facility. The large database of members’ details has also been overhauled.

Confusion over cross border work UK NUJ members living in continental

Europe are facing huge uncertainty about their ability to work across borders. No

provision was made for cross-border working and individual countries are expected to make their own rules but many members have had no information. The union has

been lobbying on the issue and the recent national executive council called for

an accelerated campaign for agreements to allow UK and EU media workers to move freely for work..

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