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April 30, 2014

NUJ backs campaign for EU vote to limit UK press ownership

By William Turvill

The National Union of Journalists has backed a campaign seeking to use European law to set limits on UK media ownership.

The UK Coalition for Media Pluralism, which wants to use a Citizens' Initiative to fight for media pluralism, launched its Reclaim The Media campaign in Westminster on Monday. It also has the support of campaign group Hacked Off and a number of academics.

If it can attract one million signatures across at least seven EU member states then the European Commission has to consider tabling legislation.

The organisation says it is critical of:

  • The "collusive" relationship between sections of the media and politicians
  • The treatment of the unemployed, working poor and immigrants in the press
  • The Government's critical stance on The Guardian's Edward Snowden revelations
  • And the negative press The Guardian has received from fellow newspapers such as the Daily Mail over the NSA stories.

The campaign has also been backed by Labour MPs Tom Watson and John McDonnell, Green MP Caroline Lucas and the Trades Union Congress.

The UK campaign group cites the European Charter on Human Rights section on “the idea that European institutions should safeguard the right to independent and diverse information”.

Although the campaign is backed by a number of journalists, including Independent columnist Owen Jones and representatives from Red Pepper magazine, others have mocked the campaign – which was launched on Monday at the House of Commons.

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