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Response to BBC decision not to appeal Sir Cliff ruling

The News Media Association has expressed surprise at the BBC’s decision not to appeal the judgment in the Sir Cliff Richard case.

Response to BBC decision not to appeal Sir Cliff ruling

The News Media Association said: “This case has raised wide issues around the reporting of the criminal justice process which local and national news media do on behalf of the public.

“Given the broader consequences for press freedom, we are surprised that the BBC has decided not to appeal this decision. The NMA will now seek urgent meetings with the Government with the aim of ensuring that freedom of speech is not curtailed as a result of this judgment.

“Public confidence in the criminal justice system is underpinned by transparency at every stage of the process and anything which damages or limits this openness must be resisted.”

Elsewhere, Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said: “This judgment poses a significant threat to journalists’ ability to report on criminal trials in future. It is disappointing there will be no formal appeal.

“However, in the light of the legal advice and financial constraints our public service broadcaster is under following the last woeful licence-fee settlement, the BBC’s decision is an understandable one. Yet this is an issue of broader concern to all who care about journalism and the ability of journalists to do their jobs well. The NUJ therefore welcomes the BBC's call for an urgent review and clarification of the law in light of this judgment.”