Memorandum from British Association of
The National Executive Committee of the BAJ
has asked me to write to you in regard to the Employment Sub-Committee's
inquiry into age discrimination in employment.
The position in journalism is that jobs have
always been hard to find over 40 and hard to keep over 50.
This is still true despite the introduction
in June 1999 of the Government's Code of Practice on Age Diversity
There is no evidence that the Code has had any
impact in the media. Older journalists are rarely appointed to
staff jobs and older staffers are more likely to be frozen out
or made redundant.
The Age Code has the laudable aim of encouraging
employers to choose, retain and promote the best person for the
job regardless of age.
But it is not being implemented in the media.
Talented and experienced people are still denied the opportunity
to contribute to the success of our industry and earn a decent
living simply because they are the wrong side of 40. The waste
Minister of State Margaret Hodge told BAJ recently:
"We are of the view that legislation by itself will not create
the cultural changes necessary to ensure an end to discrimination."
Unfortunately, nearly two years of the Age Code
has not achieved much age fairness in journalism, anyway. In our
opinion, the time has come to outlaw age discrimination altogether.
A ban on ageism is the only way to really encourage
employers to judge people on their ability and not on their birth
Some employers would still disregard the law,
but people would at least have the law on their side if they wanted
British Association of Journalists