Taking on the Media Barons conference due to examine ownership, regulation and union recognition at major media corporations


Senior union officials and supporters are expected to hear calls today for far-reaching changing changes to press regulation and media ownership rules in the wake of the phone hacking scandal.

The TUC, NUJ and the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom have organised a special conference – Taking on the Media Barons – which will examine key issues for the industry – the Leveson Inquiry, media ownership and regulation in the UK.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary (pictured, centre) said: “Media barons already have a disturbing influence on the British political landscape and this has to change.

“No one person, whether its Richard Desmond or Rupert Murdoch, should dominate our industry.”

The NUJ is one of the “core participants” at the phone hacking inquiry and has given evidence to the hearings on the culture of bullying which exists in newspapers where trade unions are not recognised.

Unite’s Assistant General Secretary, Tony Burke will tell the conference the scandal emanating from the Rupert Murdoch-owned News International should make government re-consider how media ownership is regulated.

“I want to see the Labour Party now committing itself to restricting media ownership and committing itself to ensuring that no one person or corporation can control what we read, listen to or see ever again.

“I know that there are those in the Labour Party who may recoil in horror – but I am of the view that the scale of the scandal – being revealed on a daily basis at the Leveson Inquiry – is changing the minds of people in this country.

“We should be mindful that free expression is threatened not just by authoritarian right-wing governments and those who fear public exposure, but also by the handful of global media conglomerates that have reduced diversity of expression and ownership across the globe.”

Michelle Stanistreet said: “The NUJ has been a consistent campaigner for quality journalism – we must be part of the solution when tackling the phone hacking scandal, improving media ethics and accountability.

“Any future press regulatory system must work to ensure the public can have trust in its media, in the democratically vital service that journalism is.

“Journalists also need independent trade union representation at work – we are calling on the government to remove the anti-union laws that have allowed Murdoch to keep the NUJ out of Wapping for 25 years.

“The NUJ is fighting for trade union recognition so we can be at the forefront of changing the existing culture in the media industry.”

The Leveson inquiry is expected to publish its conclusions later in the year.

You can watch our film report on Michelle Stanistreet’s appearance at the inquiry here:

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