Summary of NUJ Recommendations contained in
its document: Promoting Media Freedom and Diversity: The National
Union of Journalists' response to the White Paper, "A New
Future For Communications" CM5010, DTI/DCMS 2000 (London,
(2(a)) indicates the paragraph in the response
from which the recommendation is taken.
1. The NUJ therefore urges the government
to indicate its willingness to conduct a much longer consultation
period for the White Paper proposals and to establish a full-scale
public inquiry into the future of mass communications policy.
2. The Union considers, that the government
should consult fully with the NUJ and other media unions about
how to ensure that any future legislation protects the rights
of journalists to editorial independence and protection of their
intellectual copyright, and ensures that trade unions, and in
particular the Federation of Entertainment Unions, are formally
represented on the regulatory and advisory structures of the industry.(3[a]).
3. The Union urges the government to ensure
that regular independent research is conducted to monitor the
health and safety implications of the prolonged use of information
and communications technologies in the workplace.(3[b]).
4. The NUJ considers that all licensed broadcasters
should be subject to a clear requirement in their licences to
contribute towards training in the sector and looks forward to
a full industry wide debate on the implications of the Audio Visual
Industries Training Group report which is due for publication
in the spring.(4(a)).
5. The NUJ considers that the promotion
of equal opportunities should be written into legislation as a
central objective of regulators , broadcasters and trainers.(4(c)).
6. The Union would like the government to
review current restrictions on freedom of expression and journalistic
independence prior to the drafting of any Communications Bill.
It should consult widely to secure proposals designed to end current
restrictions embedded in the Secrecy and Contempt Laws and the
Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act.(5(a)).
7. NUJ wishes to see diversity and accountability
in media regulation so as to promote media which are free and
of a high quality. It believes that the regulation of content
should be kept separate from economic regulation. It therefore
recommends that the government reconsider its decision to centralise
power in OFCOM and that it look at ways of both retaining distinct
sectoral regulation and rationalising the laws governing the media.
It urges the government to consult on devising a better system
for making media regulatory bodies more democratically accountable
and for building in a stronger element of regional and national
democracy into the regulatory framework.(6(f)).
8. The NUJ recommends that an independent
media complaints body be established, whose task would be to promote
high standards in the media by supporting good practice, and which
would also both encourage the voluntary resolution of complaints
and have the power to enforce the publication of its adjudications.(6(g)).
9. The Union is deeply concerned that the
White Paper sanctions a regime which encourages tendencies towards
further concentration in the media industries. It therefore recommends
that the rules on media ownership be reviewed in the context of
a full public inquiry, with a view to preventing further concentration
of ownership in the industry and to examining ways in which the
media industry can support diversity of media outlets.(7(c)).
10. The government needs to adopt a much
more robust attitude to questions of the provision of news, at
a national, regional and local level, across the whole range
of licensed services in the UK to ensure that the public has regular
access to peak time mass audience news and current affairs.(8(c)).
11. The Union recommends that the government
review its three tier system of regulation, to clarify the proposal,
to strengthen the qualitative requirements for high quality PSB
across the system, and in particular with a view to creating the
economic and regulatory conditions needed to extend the public
service remit across all broadcasting outlets and to sustain high
quality, peak time news and current affairs programming across
all major public service and non public service networks.(8(e)).
12. The Union recommends that the government
investigate ways in which the licensing of new services should
be done in the context of promoting public service criteria across
as many outlets as is reasonably possible.(8.(f)).
13. The Union welcomes the promotion of
community broadcasting. It recommends that new initiatives in
this area should be undertaken so as to guarantee independence.
This means not allowing advertising as a source of income for
community media, but substitute instead a system of "arms
length" public funding. The Union also recommends that new
services in this area should not be used as an excuse for letting
commercial and public service licensed services off the hook on
questions of covering their local cultures, nor should it be used
as a device to depress wages and conditions in the industry or
to exploit underpaid, or unpaid workers. The Union looks forward
to being fully involved in discussions around the establishment
of the new sector. There should be a separate regulatory authority
designed to stimulate and sustain community media at national
and regional levels.(9(a)).
14. The Union recommends that detailed consideration
be given to developing ways of enhancing the degree of national
and regional input into both the structures and output of broadcasting
in the UK.(10(a)).
15. The Union recommends that the government
examine methods of subsidising free to air services and set top
boxes for this minority in order to ensure that all people benefit
from the switch to digital and no section of the population is
deprived in the switch over.(11(a)).
15 January 2002