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22 July 2021

NMA Calls For Critical Worker Exemption For News Media

The News Media Association has called on the Government to designate journalists and news media ancillary workers, including printers and newspaper deliverers, as critical workers, as they have been since the start of the pandemic.

In a letter to the Cabinet Office Minister yesterday, NMA deputy chief executive Lynne Anderson said that the Government has been very clear throughout the pandemic about the critical role that news media, their journalists and their journalism “play in providing essential information about coronavirus to the public and that it is imperative that they are able to continue to do so.”

At the start of the pandemic, in March 2020, the NMA worked to secure key worker status for journalists and ancillary workers, stressing the importance of the public being able to access trusted news and information.

Since then, Ministerial statements to Parliament have pointed out that, not only are news media titles the “trusted source of facts, but they will have a role to play in rallying communities and getting the message across about how we can keep ourselves and our families safe, and protect our NHS. Undoubtedly, they have a critical role”.

Ms Anderson said: “Journalists and news media ancillary workers, including printers and newspaper deliverers, have been designated by the Government as critical workers since the start of the pandemic. However, our members are reporting that many newsrooms are currently struggling to operate as so many of their journalists and other essential staff who cannot work from home have been ‘pinged’ and have had to go into self-isolation.

“We would therefore be grateful for urgent confirmation from the Government that journalists and ancillary newspaper workers who have been fully vaccinated are to be included in the categories of critical workers who can leave self-isolation to carry out their essential work and prevent serious disruption to vital public services.”