A war of words has erupted between the editor of the British Journal of Photography and the head of the National Union of Journalists, with both sides accusing the other of inaccuracy and refusal to correct mistakes.
On October 2nd, NUJ General Secretary Jeremy Dear complained on his official blog about “some hugely inaccurate reporting and some laughable comment pieces” – citing a 15th August BJP editorial by editor Simon Bainbridge which accused the NUJ of a “heavy-handed approach to…criticism”, concluding: “Isn’t it ironic that a union that holds freedom of speech so dearly has now suffocated it?”.
In his blog, Dear wrote: “Did you know that I broke off from my holiday to write a strongly worded letter that forced the closure of an NUJ-funded email discussion list. No neither did I. Because I didn’t. But the British Journal of Photography seems to know better and despite writing to the editor some time ago pointing this out they haven’t even acknowledged the inaccuracy.”
However, the BJP published a correction three weeks before Dear made the accusation, clarifying that the letter – which set in course a series of events which ultimately led to the closure of NUJ-funded email discussion list NUJPhoto -was written shortly before Dear left on holiday.
On October 3rd Bainbridge attempted to add a comment to Dear’s blog piece, stating that a “small error’ in their coverage had already been corrected. He added: “[It] seems rather silly to be posting a comment here about getting your facts right before you accuse someone else of getting their facts right.”
But three weeks on, the comment has still not been appeared on the website, although other comments made at the same time have since been published.
“Jeremy Dear still hasn’t had the decency to acknowledge – never mind publish – my comment on his blog”, said Bainbridge in a comment on the EPUK website. “Yet his accusation that BJP has ignored (not true) his request for a retraction remain”.
Bainbridge’s accusation comes in the same week that NUJ publication London Freelance publicised Jeremy Dear’s blog under the headline: “General Secretary’s blog not censored shocker”.