Edinburgh Freelance motions for DM 2016

The branch has submitted the following four motions for the NUJ Delegates Meeting in April 2016:

1) DM Southport 2016. This DM notes the growing presence at football matches and other sporting fixtures of so-called “weekend warriors” – amateur photographers and reporters who take work away from professionals and who are often admitted to press areas of the football ground or sporting arena, causing congestion and other difficulties for professional journalists. This DM instructs the NEC to initiate negotiations with the Football Association, the Scottish Football Association and all other relevant sporting authorities to seek to ensure that only properly accredited journalists are admitted to the press areas of sporting grounds, and that the UK press card is recognised as an important form of professional accreditation.

2) DM Southport 2016. This DM welcomes recent comments by the leader of the Labour Party recognising the changing nature of the labour market in Britain and beyond, and emphasising the need to ensure stronger rights for freelance and self-employed workers. This DM notes the growing numbers of UK workers officially categorised as self-employed, and the generally low level of earnings and entitlements in this sector. It also notes the NUJ’s substantial and sometimes ground-breaking work in organising freelance workers. This DM instructs the NEC to work with the Labour Party and other political parties to raise the profile of this issue in public debate on employment and the economy, and to seek to ensure that a package of enhanced rights for self-employed workers becomes a policy commitment for Labour and other parties, including the SNP, Plaid Cymru, and the Green parties in Scotland and in England and Wales.

3) DM Southport 2016. This DM notes the mounting threats to freedom of speech in the UK and throughout the western world, as governments seek ever more draconian powers to monitor communications and seize information – including information stored by journalists in the course of their work – and as intolerant groups in society use various means, including social media, to seek to pressurise journalists into a culture of self-censorship. This DM recognises that at its worst, this culture of intolerance can lead to the arrest and torture of journalists, to their deaths in war zones and on battlefields, and to shocking incidents such as the murder of Charlie Hebdo journalists and cartoonists in Paris in January 2015. DM also notes that well-intended anti-discrimination legislation can, on occasions, have negative consequences for freedom of speech. This DM therefore instructs the NEC and General Secretary to continue their excellent work in defending and advocating for journalists who come under any kind of threat to their freedom of speech, both in the UK and internationally; and also instructs the NEC to sponsor an ongoing public debate on how we define and protect free speech under 21st century conditions, either through the promotion of a series of conferences or events on the subject, or through other means that will encourage NUJ members and all those concerned about the future of journalism to involve themselves in this vital debate.

4) DM Southport 2016. This DM notes the continuing threat to the future of journalism in Scotland, which is suffering from chronic understaffing and a culture of cuts. It also notes: * the precarious state of Scotland’s national newspapers; * the ongoing debate about the future of the BBC and other broadcasters in Scotland, including the proper financing of independent journalism north of the border; * the need for an independent media to hold the increasingly powerful Scottish government to account. This DM instructs the NEC as a matter of urgency to convene a Scottish conference on the future of the media in Scotland, with a view to raising the level of public debate on this issue, and to seeking to ensure the survival of properly funded professional journalism as a key element in Scotland’s fast-changing political scene.