These are the controversial motions set to be debated at the NUJ London Magazine Branch monthly meeting next Monday:
The killing of 10 journalists at Charlie Hebdo has thrown up a myriad of controversial issues, among them the whole notion of freedom of speech and increasing Islamphobic reporting in the UK media. Cartoonist Tim Sanders and Hassan Mahamdallie, editor of Critical Muslim, will kick off a discussion focussing on these issues. Three motions relating to these issues will then be debated.
This branch notes:
The shocking murder to 10 journalists at the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo by Islamic terrorists.
The murders come amid an atmosphere of rising Islamophobia across Europe and the UK.
The role of much of the media in stoking Islamophobia. Sadly Charlie Hebdo has played a part in doing this in France.
The anti-migrant atmosphere being created in the UK as the mainstream parties target migration in an effort to undermine the rise of Ukip in the run-up to the general election.
The annual conference of Unite Against Fascism on 21 February.
The Stand Up to Racism and Fascism Demonstration in central London on 21 March.
Campaigns such as Media Workers Against the Nazis and Expose that have played a role in giving journalists the confidence to take on racism, Islamophobia and anti-migrant reporting in the 1980s and 1990s-2000s respectively.
This branch believes:
The murderers of the 10 journalists must be condemned absolutely, and the killers brought to trial.
Attempts to link a defence of freedom of speech with yet more attacks in Moslems should be condemned. There is no such thing as an absolute freedom of speech.
There is a need to build a campaign among media workers on the lines of previous ones to combat racism, Islamophobia and anti-migrant reporting.
This branch resolves:
To encourage as many branch members as possible to attend the UAF conference, and specifically the media workshop, with a view to setting up such a campaign.
To send a delegation with the branch banner on the 21 March demonstration, and encourage members to join it.
The loony lefties are also set to release this crackpot statement:
Charlie Hebdo statement
The branch resolves to place the following statement on its website:
Statement on the murders of Charlie Hebdo journalists
The demonstration in Paris of more than 3 million people shows the strength of feeling arising from the attacks on the journalists at Charlie Hebdo. The killings of journalists, other workers and two police officers is a tragic event, as are the deaths of the four hostages taken at the Jewish supermarket in eastern Paris on the same day. The NUJ has an excellent track record in campaigning against the killings and imprisonment of journalists around the world, and we acknowledge and fully support this work. But how does this commitment to press freedom sit when leading this demonstration are people such as foreign minister Shoukry of Egypt, Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, and King Abdullah of Jordan, among others, whose countries or organisations rank highly in violations towards journalists and repression of press and journalistic freedoms, including murder and imprisonment.
And the NUJ has gone further than supporting the journalists and has suggested this is an attack on free speech and says it “celebrates” the satire of Charlie Hebdo. “By joining this march the NUJ will be celebrating the work of the journalists at Charlie Hebdo, who paid with their lives, and ensuring that satire and independent journalism cannot be suppressed in this way.” We find the ‘celebration’ of this racist and islamophobic ‘satire’ distasteful at best, and dangerous and harmful at worst.
The murders come amid a rising tide of racist attacks against migrants and Muslims across Europe, fuelled by politicians and, sadly, much of the media. It is premature to align our union with a narrative of “free speech” and “press freedom” which will be used inevitably to further denigrate Muslims and Muslim communities. This crass and often misrepresented article of journalistic faith is already encouraging right-wing organisations, politicians, and racists to call for further restrictions on civil liberties and press freedoms by the one body with the real power to gag and control us – the state. The NUJ needs to have a far more sophisticated answer than these “us or them” polemics.
Light refreshments and sandwiches provided. Baby sitting and reasonable travel expenses covered.
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