Statement October 26 2001

The NUJ condemns the vicious attacks on New York, Washington and Pennsylvania on September 11. We extend our deepest sympathy and condolences to all those who have suffered such grievous loss in this terrible tragedy The NUJ also condemns those who have sought be use the atrocity to inflame racist and religious hatred.

The NUJ is concerned at attempts by the UK and other governments to influence reporting of the British and US military campaign in Afghanistan, particularly in the case of broadcast media. The union welcomes the refusal of NBC, ITV and Sky News executives to comply with attempts by Downing Street to dictate how the war is covered.

The NEC notes with concern that several governments are attempting to use the current political climate to push through so-called "counter-terrorist" legislation, covering measures such as phone tapping, police surveillance, encryption technology, the detention of migrants, control over the Internet, and freedom of movement.

The NEC notes that there is little agreement within the EU over what the term "terrorism" actually means. The NEC is alarmed that the European Commission has produced a formulation so broad it would include anti-globalisation protesters.

The NEC affirms that the union will do everything in its power to challenge the potential threats to press freedom and journalists' rights.

The NEC further notes the great dangers journalists face when reporting from war zones. It calls on media organisations to ensure their journalists are well-prepared, equipped and insured before being sent to a war zone. In this regard, the union endorses guidelines on wax reporting and Journalists' safety such as those produced by the IFJ.

The NEC resolves to promote solidarity with journalists from the Arab and Muslim worlds, and to support their efforts to promote professionalism and independence in the media, against the threat of religious or governmental interference.

The NUJ calls for a considered and reflective response to the events of September 11, which seeks to bring to trial before an internationally recognised court those responsible for the atrocity. We call on the TUC and all international organisations to build alliances with journalists and trade unionists globally for peaceful dialogue.

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