Friday, November 06, 2009

A postcard (or a1000) to Ben Bradshaw

Had a lie in till 7am following the news that the postal workers action had been called off while talks go on. It meant no early morning picket line visit.

Yesterday afternoon NUJ Broadcasting Organiser Sue Harris and I
delivered 1000 signed postcards to Ben Bradshaw's office protesting about government plans to top slice the licence fee. That 1000 added to hundreds, possibly thousands of others sent in by other organisations across the UK. But don't stop sending them in. The Queen's Speech later this month will signal the start of the parliamentary battle against top-slicing - so keep up the pressure.

pic: Jonathan Warren

The debate on the future of the media switches to the British Academy tonight where I will share a platform with a government minister, Liberal Democrat MP Don Foster, Lord Norman Fowler, Caroline Thomson, the chief operating officer from the BBC, Peter Wilby and others in an open seminar
"A Media manifesto for the Digital Age". The premise of my contribution, being surrounded by so many politicians, will be that the media are failing democracy because politicians are failing the media. It will be a strong call for an economic stimulus plan for journalism not to prop up failed corporate business models but to invest in newsgathering in the public interest.

Before heading off to that I'm meeting the Latin American Workers Association and have staff meetings. Tomorrow morning I'm speaking at the South East Region TUC Conference.


Anonymous said...

SERTUC is an acronym for 'Southern and Eastern Regional Trades Union Council' of the Trades Union Congress, not for South East Regional TUC. Not a lot of people know that. Jeremy's opening address is eagerly awaited and I hope it will be reported on this blog.

Jeremy Dear, General Secretary, NUJ said...

Damn. I always get that wrong. Eagerly awaited eh? Better get writing...!

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Anonymous said...

On what basis is the NUJ opposing topslicing?

You are clearly abandoning your members in regional ITV newsrooms. Why should ITV NUJ subscriptions be paying to campaign against a viable funding solution.

Jeremy Dear supports Jonathan Ross's right to be paid millions, not poorly paid ITV regional journalists.

Jeremy Dear, General Secretary, NUJ said...

That's a slightly odd interpretation of things. The NUJ has consistently argued against cuts at ITV and for new funding sources to be found for commercial public service broadcasters. We held a Parliamentary lobby I spoke at alongside BECTU calling for defence of local/regional news on ITV, made submissions to Ofcom and DCMS saying that and calling for financial assistance for ITV. It's not that we think they shouldn't be funded, it's the source of the funds that we oppose. In fact the postcard I'm handing in says: "We strongly support public service broadcasting on other channels, such as ITV, being maintained and strengthened...there are other ways to pay for news, drama and children's programming outside the BBC without top slicing the licence fee".

We're one of only 5 European countries who do not impose retransmission levies for example, who do not have levies on recording devices and so on - all of which would raise NEW money to go in to public service broadcasting instead of robbing Peter to pay Paul which is what the government are proposing. We commissioned a major IPPR report to set out an alternative to top-slicing which can be found on the union's website.

And for the record, two years ago I was on BBC radio calling for Jonathon Ross to go after his comments about being worth 600 journalists. He wasn't then, he isn't now.