Journalists for Press Freedom

The public debate rages around journalistic malfeasance, Leveson and UK press regulation, but one voice is notably absent. Film stars and politicians appear nightly on television current affairs programmes and chat shows arguing for press regulation, statutory underpinning, call it what you will. Aligned against them are newspaper proprietors and editors, many of whom organise as the Free Speech Network – the fighting arm of the Society of Editors.

Where is the voice of ordinary journalists who oppose state-enabled regulation of any kind? They are not represented by the National Union of Journalists, for in the eyes of the world the NUJ supports regulation of the press underpinned by statute.

Going by a straw poll conducted by the Press Gazette, opinion among journalists is divided, with a slim majority in favour of statutory underpinning. But the space within which journalists can discuss regulation and press freedom has been largely restricted to comments following Press Gazette articles. The constituency is otherwise fragmented, with no channel for collective expression by journalists who stand for a press totally free of state control.

Is it now time for an alliance of journalists for press freedom?