Journalists might face up to 14 years in jail in the UK

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) back their British affiliate, the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), in its concerns over the proposals to update the Official Secrets Act in the United Kingdom. Due to the new way of defining espionage, including “obtaining sensitive information”, as well as “passing it on”, journalists, whom are simply working on their stories, can potentially face up to 14 years in prison by receiving some secret information. These proposals completely ignore the right of journalists to disclose information in the public interest and would also punish severely whistleblowers,…

UK Investigatory Powers Bill threatens journalistic sources and whistleblowers

The International and European Federation of Journalists, (IFJ) and (EFJ), joined their UK affiliate, The National Union of Journalists (NUJ), in strongly condemning the Investigatory Powers Bill, which threatens the right to privacy, freedom of expression and investigative journalism, giving the Government sweeping spying powers. The new law gives the UK one of the most extreme spying powers in the developed world whose impact will be felt around the world. Under the “national security” pretext, the bill, which was passed by the House of Lords on 17 November will force internet and phone companies to store their users’ browsing data…

UK Bank decided to block RT accounts

State-funded Russian broadcaster RT complained on Monday that National Westminster Bank (NatWest) had withdrawn its banking services in Britain without explanation. According to a letter featured on the RT site, the bank will withdraw the card facility on November 14. ”All accounts will be closed on December 12,” the letter continues. The incident would not prevent RT from working in the United Kingdom. NatWest wrote to the UK company that supplies services to RT, rather than the television network itself. The decision to block RT accounts was taken independently by the bank, UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said Tuesday. The Royal Bank of Scotland…

Irish government urged to back demands for action on O’Hagan murder

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) has joined its affiliate, the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) in the UK and Ireland, calling on the Irish government to apply pressure on British prime minister Theresa May for a new investigation into the murder of Sunday World journalist and NUJ activist Martin O’Hagan.  On the 15th anniversary of his death, the NUJ has called on the Irish foreign affairs minister, Charlie Flanagan, to support the call by the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) for the authorities in the UK to intensify their efforts to find the killers. Dunja Mijatović, an…

BBC journalist’s laptop seized by UK police under Terrorism Act

The European Federation of Journalists and the International Federation of Journalists joined their member union in the United Kingdom and Ireland, the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), to condemn the use by the UK police of special powers under the Terrorism Act 2000 to seize the laptop of a BBC journalist and have access to his sources. Detectives served an order obtained from a judge on the BBC and Secunder Kermani, a Newsnight reporter who has produced extensive reports on jihadis born in Britain. It is understood that the police wanted to read communications between Kermani and a man who…

UK High Court rules against data retention rules

The UK’s High Court has ruled that parts of the controversial surveillance law, the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act (DRIPA), violated article 7 and 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights and the personal data protection laws. The EFJ affiliate in the UK, the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), has long been campaigning against DRIPA to ensure that the right of journalists to protect their confidential sources is protected. On Friday 17 July, the High Court of Justice of England and Wales found that UK surveillance laws are incompatible with the European convention on human rights and the EU charter…

UK government to roll out anti-trade union laws

The UK government is planning to introduce anti-trade union laws that will restrict strikes and hamper the basic human rights of workers, says the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), an EFJ affliate in the UK. According to the NUJ, the proposed bill aimed at curtailing trade union activity would impose a minimum 50% turnout in strike ballots, with public sector unions requiring at least 40% of those eligible to vote. Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary said: “Forget the language of fairness and rights being peddled by the Tories – this is the most cynical of attacks designed to finish what…

UK: Newsquest journalists on 12-day strike over redundancy

Employees of Newsquest, one of the UK’s largest regional newspaper publishers with more than 200 papers and owned by the US company Garnett, are on strike over major reorganization, compulsory redundancies and salaries, as some of them are not paid the London living wage. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) today joined their affiliate in the United Kingdom and Ireland, the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), and supported a 12-day strike starting today in south London by the Newsquest Media Group’s workers. After failure of negotiations with the management that took place until…

UK: ITV journalists on strike for fair pay

Journalists working for the British broadcaster, ITV, staged a 24-hour strike on 14 May calling for fair pay. The National Union of Journalists (NUJ), a member of the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) in the UK led the industrial action together with the technicians’ union (BECTU) to demonstrate outside ITV studios across the countries. The dispute is in response to a 2% pay offer from the company. ITV journalists were not satisfied with the rise when the company has recorded a rise in profit of 39% after tax in 2014. Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, “The company’s success is down…

FT interns win fight over internship pay

Interns working for the British newspaper Financial Times will now receive payment for their work following a successful negotiation by the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) in the UK. The deal brokered by the NUJ is part of the overall pay settlement of an above-inflation rise for all FT staff from April. Unpaid internship remains a common practice in the UK particularly in the journalism industry. According to a report published by the National Council for the Training of Journalists in 2013, 82% of graduate entering into the profession have done an internship, of which 92% of them were unpaid.…

EFJ slams UK for pushing through data retention law

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) today has criticised the UK government’s hasty move to rush through a controversial data retention law that will allow the government to have greater control of personal data of citizens and journalists. “It is shocking that the UK government is pushing through a law that has just been invalidated by the European Court of Justice (ECJ),” said Ricardo Gutierrez, EFJ General Secretary. “We are extremely concerned that such an intrusive law will violate the privacy of citizens as well as those of journalists whose duty to protect confidential sources could be compromised.” The EFJ…