Received from: NUJ
Congress notes how the Covid-19 crisis laid bare the vital role public services play in everyday life. Congress further notes that trustworthy, relevant, impartial news critically underpins democratic society and its component communities, particularly during a health crisis – something recognised during the pandemic by the designation of journalists as key workers.
At a time when accurate reliable news is more important than ever, Congress believes it is alarming that the news industry is under unprecedented strain following the lockdown period, with widescale cuts and redundancies taking place aimed at grassroots journalistic roles.
Congress welcomes the publication of the NUJ’s News Recovery plan in April, aimed at tackling the existing faultlines in the sector with a series of measures intended to reconfigure the news industry and ensure it is firmly rooted in the public good.
In supporting this aim, Congress calls on the General Council to campaign for:
i. tech giants to pay their way, after years of exploiting editorial content without paying for its creation, through a digital information levy
ii. government investment in public-interest news, through arms-length funding mechanisms, with no public funding to any company making redundancies, paying out dividends or resisting union recognition
iii. tax breaks for news subscriptions and support for new media start-ups
iv. a widescale media literacy campaign to tackle disinformation and fake news
v. greater plurality in the media and tighter ownership regulation
vi. support for public service broadcasting and independent oversight of the BBC’s licence fee settlement to ensure it is free from government interference.
National Union of Journalists