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NCTJ patron warns of the importance of holding power to account

Posted on: May 28, 2020 by Mariella Brown

NCTJ patron Alex Crawford has warned that it is unacceptable for governments and MPs to “boycott certain outlets and individuals” for asking uncomfortable questions during the coronavirus outbreak.

In a video for the National Council for the Training of Journalists, the Sky News special correspondent explained the importance of journalism’s role to hold power to account.

Crawford says, “I think one of the fundamental stones, foundation stones of journalism if you like is holding people, governments, authorities, companies, to account.

“We are basically the moral compass of everything and everybody, we’re the conscience of the world.

“And right now, as you’ve seen with the coverage of the coronavirus pandemic, it is absolutely crucial that journalists, and the industry as a whole, functions across the world.

“We’ve seen it particularly how necessary it is here in Britain.”

The video comes in the wake of concern raised by industry bodies including the Society of Editors and Reporters Without Borders that the government was not interested in answering questions from news outlets it felt were campaigning against it.

In the video Crawford adds: “Everyone – journalists – need to be asking these critical questions and demanding answers.”

“I don’t think it’s acceptable for governments, cabinet ministers, MPs, to boycott certain outlets and individuals because they are asking uncomfortable questions.”

The full video can be watched here.