Select Committee on Education and Employment Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum from British Association of Journalists

  The National Executive Committee of the BAJ has asked me to write to you in regard to the Employment Sub-Committee's inquiry into age discrimination in employment.

  The position in journalism is that jobs have always been hard to find over 40 and hard to keep over 50.

  This is still true despite the introduction in June 1999 of the Government's Code of Practice on Age Diversity in Employment.

  There is no evidence that the Code has had any impact in the media. Older journalists are rarely appointed to staff jobs and older staffers are more likely to be frozen out or made redundant.

  The Age Code has the laudable aim of encouraging employers to choose, retain and promote the best person for the job regardless of age.

  But it is not being implemented in the media. Talented and experienced people are still denied the opportunity to contribute to the success of our industry and earn a decent living simply because they are the wrong side of 40. The waste is shameful.

  Minister of State Margaret Hodge told BAJ recently: "We are of the view that legislation by itself will not create the cultural changes necessary to ensure an end to discrimination."

  Unfortunately, nearly two years of the Age Code has not achieved much age fairness in journalism, anyway. In our opinion, the time has come to outlaw age discrimination altogether.

  A ban on ageism is the only way to really encourage employers to judge people on their ability and not on their birth certificates.

  Some employers would still disregard the law, but people would at least have the law on their side if they wanted to complain.

British Association of Journalists

January 2001

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