Labour Research November 2004


NUJ says media ignored Social Forum

The leader of the NUJ journalists' union Jeremy Dear, has branded the commercial media's failure to report last month's European Social Forum "a disgrace".

London played host to the giant biennial gathering for global justice and against war, racism and corporate power. Around 20,000 people from 70 countries took part in over 500 meetings during the three-day event.

Dear said: "It was the biggest conference of the year yet it was virtually ignored."

And he pointed to the BBC as particularly blameworthy. He said: "The NUJ had messages from journalists at the BBC saying they were ashamed that they were not allowed to report it."

He said: "The BBC has a responsibility to report events of political significance, which this certainly was." He added: "These media are always saying that young people aren't interested in politics, but here you had thousands of young people intensely involved in what was effectively a political festival. It's a disgrace that hardly anyone reported it."

The NUJ was one of a number of UK unions to take part in the forum, organising events on reporting the war in Iraq, the concentration of media ownership and on threats to public service broadcasting.

Two major events were agreed at the forum - international protests against neo-liberalism and war on 19-20 March 2005, and against the Group of Eight summit at Gleneagles in Scotland next July.