NUJ Ethics Council – an election statement

I am standing for the Freelance seat on the National Union of Journalists‘ Ethics Council. The election will be by postal ballot of all sector members, and the poll is open now until 12:00 on Wednesday 29 January 2020. If you haven’t already done so, I ask that you give me your first-preference vote. Do not mark the ballot paper with an “X”.

Here is my election statement for Ethics Council…

I am a freelance science, engineering and policy journalist based in the East of England. In the 2016-18 round I served on Ethics Council as its Equality representative. I am currently chair of Freelance Industrial Council, and a trustee and vice-chair of the charity NUJ Extra. In the coming round I seek election only to Ethics Council and NUJ extra, so as to better focus my time and energy.

Having contributed to the work of Ethics Council in previous years, I wish to return to serving the NUJ and its freelance members in defining, developing and promoting professional standards in news reporting, opinion journalism and public relations. Areas of particular interest to me include the responsible reporting of vulnerable groups and individuals, copyright, moral rights and data protection, the balance between representation and advocacy in news reporting and opinion journalism, and equalities issues as they affect those working in communications trades.

As a previous member of Ethics Council I added to its constructive critique of editorial codes such as that of Impress. I am keen for the NUJ to contribute further to the wider public debate around media freedom and ethics, and, following the challenge laid down by Leveson, address the need for effective self-regulation.

Ethics Council is responsible for handling NUJ code of conduct complaints, and advising NEC following consideration of evidence provided. Conflict resolution and raising awareness of membership responsibilities are integral to the work of Ethics Council in this area.

With journalistic media increasingly driven by social media mores, and the rise of fake news and media manipulation by big-data corporates, veracity in an age of rapid growth in digital information is critical. As the representative body of journalists in the British Isles and Ireland, the NUJ has an important role to play in developing and promoting professional standards and media ethics.

Finally, it is vital that whoever is elected to represent the NUJ’s freelance members on Ethics Council contribute fully to its work. As a member of Ethics Council I pledge to contribute to this effort, and ask for your support.

Current NUJ responsibilities

Freelance Industrial Council – Chair
NUJ Extra – Vice-chair and trustee
Public Relations and Communications Council – Freelance representative