Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Are The PCC & NUJ Doing Enough To Stop Racist Press?

Given the amount of ongoing racism in the UK press, maybe it is time to remind the Press Complaints Commission and the National Union of Journalists, who ostensibly have strict rules against ‘prejudicial’ and ‘pejorative’ reporting, that they are not doing their job properly.

Clause 12 of the Press Complaints Commission’s Editors’ Code of Practice relates to discrimination and suggests that prejudicial or pejorative remarks about race and other personal traits and social groupings should be avoided.

i) The press must avoid prejudicial or pejorative reference to an individual’s race, colour, religion, gender, sexual orientation or to any physical or mental illness or disability.

ii) Details of an individual’s race, colour, religion, sexual orientation, physical or mental illness or disability must be avoided unless genuinely relevant to the story.

Similarly, Clause 10 of the National Union of Journalists’ Code of Conduct, by which all NUJ members are expected to abide, states that:

A journalist… produces no material likely to lead to hatred or discrimination on the grounds of a person’s age, gender, race, colour, creed, legal status, disability, marital status, or sexual orientation.

In addition, the union’s Black Members Council has produced Guidelines on Race Reporting, which many (white) members have clearly breached over the years.

So are the journalists and editors, whom this blog was set to expose, abiding by these rules? Clearly not. And are the PCC and NUJ doing enough to stop them? Clearly not.

If you would like to remind them of that, perhaps with a few recent examples, here are their contact details:

Press Complaints Commission
Halton House
20/23 Holborn
London EC1N 2JD
Online complaint form: http://www.pcc.org.uk/complaints/form.html
Email: complaints@pcc.org.uk

Headland House
308-312 Gray’s Inn Road
Email: info@nuj.org.uk
Ethics Council: ethics@nuj.org.uk
Equality Council: lenac@nuj.org.uk

Press Action

1 comment:

Jo Wadsworth said...

Just a little note about how both the NUJ and the PCC work, as I think you'll find it helpful.

The NUJ has no power over what its members do, other than the threat of their being thrown out of the union if they don't abide by them (and this is very, very rare). Also, many journalists are not NUJ members. The NUJ has raised this issue before, but essentially it is fairly powerless to stop it.

The PCC does have more powers (it can require its members to issue apologies, for instance) but it very rarely investigates cases unless the subject of the report themselves complain. This does of course mean that it's very difficult to complain about more general articles which have racist or otherwise discimanatory overtones.

If you feel this is wrong, it might be more useful to campaign to get this changed in instances of perceived racism than to ask why it is not applying the code, as the answer you'll get is probably the one I've just given you.