#defendpressfreedom

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In Hollywood blockbusters (and countries run by despots) attacks on the free press see journalists dragged to prison, presses smashed and tv stations forcibly shut. In Britain’s liberal democracy, undermining our ability to investigate, and to express freely what we find, takes different forms.  And three pieces of legislation before […]

Shopping drama: retail divas RIP

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A tribute to Pete Burns, and many others Late ‘70s Leeds was monochrome, hacked apart by urban motorways, choked with disused factories and fringed with bleak system-built housing. It was a metropolis of lost purpose – at least in my recollection. Nevertheless, every Saturday, my bus ground into the centre, […]

Heavy weather: climate change divides the TUC

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Much of the time, Trades Union Congress’ annual get-together is reminiscent of a revivalist meeting – true believers gathered in the certainty of salvation.  Nearly every motion is endorsed by unanimous acclaim, the General Council’s opinion on each proposition is received with earnest appreciation, and every speaker is generously applauded. […]

Rigged competition: how EU law works against freelances

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“To know better your enemies is to better chances of your eventual victory”, wrote Sun Tzu in the Art Of War.  So an eyeball-to-eyeball encounter with one of the European Union’s competition tzars provided provided a rare chance to understand the frustrations placed in the way of unions working on […]

Camera wobble: Sky’s photo contest misses its subject

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“Taking a picture is to take away, not to put in, otherwise it is mediocrity”, the gruff Oliviero Toscani barked at a contestant on Sky Arts Master of Photography last week.  It is a gnomic gem he has dished it out, with slight variations, to many of the hopefuls competing […]

Bank failure: my involuntary Cam dip

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  Reaching the riverbank in Grantchester, my instinct was to first test the water’s temperature. The grassy bank is nearly two feet above the lapping surface so I inched forward from a sitting position before fully committing.  It wasn’t to be. As my toes touched the stream, I slid involuntarily […]

World reports – IFJ Congress 2016

Marching with flowers in memory of Camille Lepage

VIEW FROM THE TOP “It would be an enormous privilege for you to be a member of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) Congress Presidium” Jim Boumelha (then IFJ president) whispered in my ear. “Basically it means that you are completely in charge of congress, you could really make a […]

The stardust alien: from Hull to eternity

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I stopped listening to David Bowie a year ago.  My love for his music was undimmed but I had come to the conclusion that old tunes were crowding out the new – at least on my playlists.  I decided that, for a while at least, I would embrace the contemporary.  […]

Welcome news: unions’ agreement with global broadcaster

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The pumping handshake before a roomful of international representatives appeared enthusiastic.  Flashlights popped and applause rippled around Geneva’s Press club.  Jim Boumelha, president of the International Union of Journalists and Mostefa Souaq, executive director of the Al Jazeera Media Network exuded satisfaction at a negotiation concluded (they are pictured above). […]

Conviction politics: Shrewsbury’s jailed strikers won’t be the last

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 A febrile air of hope and opportunity runs through most of United We Stand – a dramatic exploration of the 1972 building workers’ strike and subsequent jailings.  Set against glam rock and rank-and-file radicalisation, the play explores how builders’ anger about pay, safety and casualisation pushed them to spread their […]