Dear defends NUJ against Pilger attack

By Sarah Lagan

NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear has hit back at investigative
journalist John Pilger, who slammed the union for taking a grant from
the Government’s Department for International Development.

The three-year grant is to help the NUJ produce educational material
to promote understanding of international poverty and to create a “more
ethical” media on the subject.

But Pilger has accused the
union of compromising its independence by “crawling into bed with a
Government which stands accused of prima facie war crimes for its
illegal invasion of a defenceless country”.

In a letter to The
Journalist, he accused the DFID of being a vehicle of Blair’s “extreme
ideology: neo-liberalism (imperialism)”.

But Dear said: “John Pilger’s attack on the NUJ is misplaced and inaccurate.

The NUJ has never, nor will it ever, compromise its independence.

“We
accept project funding where there are no strings attached. Our latest
project is to inform and influence international policies on free
media/freedom of expression.”

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