News & Opinion

Coalition Urges UN to Make Press Freedom a Global Priority

An international coalition of journalists, media organizations and unions that met in late August in Indonesia adopted an agenda making freedom of the press a priority in the global development goals set by the United Nations and its member states. The “Bali Road Map: The Roles of the Media in Realizing the Future We Want for All,” calls on governments around the world to recognize freedom of the press as a major underpinning in “how a country shapes development, shares ideas and innovations and holds powerful actors to account.” The road map states that these goals can only be realized “where the media is free, pluralistic and independent and where there is safety for actors producing journalism.”

Guild: Digital First's Search for Buyers Was Inevitable

News that Digital First is seeking buyers for its newspapers comes five days after The Newspaper Guild-CWA  initiated its own search for new investors at Digital First, where newsroom staffs and budgets have been cut to the bone under its ownership. In response to the company's announcement Friday, Sept. 12, Newspaper Guild President Bernie Lunzer issued this statement:  "It has been clear for some time that the hedge fund which owns the majority of Digital First Media was not operating the company as a long-term investment. Under the right conditions, a sale can be a positive development for our members and the communities they serve. We will continue our efforts to identify potential buyers for local papers or clusters of papers. News organizations such as DFM, while operated for profit, remain a critical service to any community. We welcome hearing from all potential investors who understand the importance of supporting quality journalism and local jobs."

 

NLRB Decision Affirms Workers' Social Media Rights

Important and good news from Newspaper Guild attorney Barbara Camens about the latest NLRB decision regarding workers and social media. "The NLRB has affirmed its commitment to broadly protect employees who use social media to discuss workplace concerns," Camens tells us. In a case brought against the Triple Play Sports Bar, "the Board found unlawful the discharge of two employees for a Facebook discussion of their employer’s mistakes in income tax withholdings. The first employee had simply 'liked' a comment posted by a former employee." The decision also struck down an overly broad 'Internet/blogging' policy in the employer's handbook for workers. "The Board found the ban on 'inappropriate' internet discussions to be so vague as to unlawfully chill the exercise of protected communication rights," Camens says. The decision is especially important because several other NLRB rulings affirming workers' social media rights have been set aside by the Noel Canning Supreme Court case that rescinded the recess appointments of certain NLRB members, and nullified their decisions.

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