Monday, April 19, 2010

Making the media an election issue

Tackling the crisis in local media is not a question of resources it's a question of political will - and that political will was largely lacking when candidates from the four main parties in Wales appeared on a panel at the NUJ's conference on media issues in Cardiff on Saturday.

In the conference's opening session I set out in my speech the union's call for an economic stimulus plan alongside speakers from Bectu, Professor Bob Franklin from Cardiff University, Tom O'Malley from the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom and others. Then it was the turn of the politicians (or wannabe politicians) to respond. They tried but on the whole they failed. Occasionally they touched a chord but the best performance was from the Labour candidate - and that was only because he started every answer by distancing himself from what the UK government had actually done. But I at least congratulate them all for tuning up, taking the questions and responding. Which is more than lots of politicians have done with our Make Your Vote Count campaign - many simply write back saying they don't respond to people asking them to sign up to pledges. Nice.

Well done to our members in Wales for taking the initiative.

Thursday and Friday were dominated by NEC sub-committees - policy and development. We had important discussions on our election strategy, the campaign against cuts at the BBC, recruitment in the new media sector, the upcoming International Federation of Journalists conference and much more. Now to try and do all the work that came out of those committees.

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