Opinion Former Article

PCS: Strong unions needed to prevent another phone hacking scandal

At its meeting today (14) the Public and Commercial Services union's national executive committee agreed the following statement about the ongoing phone hacking scandal engulfing News International:

"Recent revelations and allegations of illegal activity at News International have shocked the nation but perhaps not surprised everyone.

"Like many, we will not miss the misogyny, and the anti-welfare, anti-immigrant and anti-union propaganda that the News of the World filled its pages with week in, week out. But we utterly condemn the decision to simply close down the newspaper and put hundreds of jobs at risk, while the real culprits - the Murdochs and Rebekah Brooks - keep their jobs.

"As with Andy Coulson, Brooks must go, and they both must now face the full force of the law.

"We welcome the exposure these issues are now getting, and the fact that Murdoch's News Corporation has been forced to withdraw its bid to buy all of BSkyB. But it does not disguise the fact that it took a tiny minority of journalists and backbench politicians to pursue the facts when others rubbished them as a politically motivated conspiracy with no merit.

"What has not yet been discussed fully is the damage done to journalism by Rupert Murdoch's move to Wapping 25 years ago, his ejection of trade unions and the direct role this played in turning illegality into casual routine. This should not be overlooked in the coming inquiries, and should be properly investigated with a view to making concrete recommendations to address what are clearly systemic problems.

"It is no coincidence that it took the Guardian, a newspaper where the NUJ is well represented, to investigate and expose one where it was not. The NUJ has championed ethical journalism for more than 100 years and all members sign up to its code of conduct.

"While we need a more effective and robust system of press regulation, the best way to ensure a similar scandal does not happen again is to ensure a strong union presence in every newsroom and every studio.

"In solidarity with the NUJ and other media unions. Your fight for a more effective, more ethical press - free to investigate and hold power to account - is our fight too."

ENDS

Notes

- For information and interview requests contact PCS national press officer Richard Simcox on 020 7801 2747 or 07833 978216

- The Public and Commercial Services union represents civil and public servants in central government. It has around 300,000 members in over 200 departments and agencies, and in parts of government transferred to the private sector. PCS is the UK's sixth largest union and is affiliated to the TUC. The general secretary is Mark Serwotka and the president is Janice Godrich - on Twitter @janicegodrich

- Follow PCS on Twitter @pcs_union

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