IFJ defends 'legitimate' rejection of IoJ

The International Federation of Journalists’ general secretary, Aidan White, has said he wants to “draw a line” under the continuing wrangle over the refusal to admit the Institute of Journalists to membership of the IFJ.

The IoJ has been seeking membership of the IFJ for 30 years but claims its efforts are always blocked by the NUJ.

White was a speaker at the IoJ’s conference in Berlin last week but the union’s leadership and delegates claimed he did not clarify the membership question.

IoJ general secretary Dominic Cooper said he was “disappointed that Aidan White did not take the opportunity offered to clarify further this 30-year-old objection”.

But White told Press Gazette after the conference: “As far as I amconcerned I went to Berlin to draw a line once and for all under what I see as profound misconceptions and inaccuracies about the IFJ’s handling of the IoJ’s application for membership.

He added: “My message to them was they have been rejected legitimately by the IFJ and they better live with it.”

White warned that if there was any attempt by the IoJ to resort to legal action the IFJ would “vigorously defend our position”.

He added: “It’s for the IoJ and the NUJ to sort out their own relations.”

Robin Morgan, chairman of the IoJ’s professional board, told the conference: “Let us not beat about the bush, this whole discussion is about historical bad blood between NUJ and IOJ going back before my lifetime.”

The conference voted to take the issue “as high as possible”, and seek support among IFJ members.

The IFJ executive board is to discuss the row at its meeting at the end of this month.

By Jon Slattery

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