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The NUJ has consistently supported calls for part two of the Leveson Inquiry to go ahead.

The latest proposal contains welcome changes by excluding local newspapers from its scope, explicitly recognising the importance of free speech, and making it clear that Northern Ireland will be given consideration.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary said: “Part two of Leveson was always going to be where the inquiry got truly interesting. The role of politicians, the power dynamic between newspaper owners and editors and our elected leaders, and the failure of corporate governance – no wonder then that vested interests have lobbied hard to see off this inquiry.

“Criminal trials meant that part two couldn’t take place straight away – the nature of those trials, the way in which responsibilities were ducked and individual reporters were scapegoated and hung out to dry, means there many questions remain about the way in which newspaper executives and editors conducted themselves and about the culture they created in the workplaces they were responsible for. Journalists have paid the price with their careers, victims have not got the justice they deserve, yet those responsible at the very top of the media companies involved have emerged unscathed.

“This is a chance for parliament to make good on its commitments to an important inquiry that can ensure that unlawful and unethical practices are never allowed to proliferate again.”

Motion agreed by NUJ delegate meeting, April 2018:
This DM condemns the decision of the secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport to cancel the suspended part two of the Leveson inquiry, despite a lengthy consultation process and against the advice of Lord Leveson, the inquiry’s chair.

This DM also notes his decision not to bring into effect section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013, an act agreed by both houses of parliament, that determines payment of court costs if a defendant of news-related material is or is not a member of a recognised regulator.

This DM believes the government’s attempts to wish into being a satisfactory system of press regulation through the actions of others has utterly failed. No regulator has emerged that is satisfactorily independent, and has been accepted by the bulk of UK publishers. Several major newspaper groups remain outside any kind of external regulation.

This DM reaffirms its believe that a properly independent, effective regulator that puts journalistic ethics at the core of its work, and oversees the entire sector, is required for the British press to regain the trust of the reading public.

DM recalls that part two of the Leveson inquiry was to:
Inquire into the extent of unlawful or improper conduct within News International, other newspaper organisations and, as appropriate, other organisations within the media
Investigate the way in which any relevant police force investigated allegations or evidence of unlawful conduct by persons within or connected with News International
Examine the extent of corporate governance and management failures at News International and other newspaper organisations
Consider the role of politicians and public servants in any failure to investigate wrongdoing at News International
Recommend action over relationships between newspaper organisations and the police, prosecuting authorities, and relevant regulatory bodies.
The NUJ believes the inquiry would have exposed the damaging and possibly criminal part that employers and publishers played in the events that led to the setting up of the Leveson Inquiry and condemns Matt Hancock, the secretary of state, for betraying the public by falling for the cleverly orchestrated line from the News Media Association that there had been a "seismic change" in the media landscape since the original Leveson inquiry and that he should “look to the future” when in fact there has been remarkably little change.

This DM instructs the NEC to:
Continue campaigning for Leveson two to go ahead by pressuring the government through the NUJ parliamentary group and by any other suitable means
Campaign for the government to start anew the process of considering an effective system of press regulation, to include inexpensive, binding arbitration for those who feel that they have been misrepresented.



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By MIchael Calderbank

Foreword by Mark Serwotka, PCS General Secretary


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