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Trio receive fellowships of the Society of Editors

A trio of influential media figures and campaigners have been appointed fellows of the Society of Editors at its annual conference in London.

Alan Rusbridger, former editor of The Guardian and principal of Lady Margaret Hall at Oxford University was awarded the accolade following his delivery of the Society of Editors Lecture on the evening of Sunday 18 October at the iconic Stationers’ Hall.

Alan, who under his leadership saw the paper awarded the Pullitzer Price in Journalism and was awarded the Newspaper of the Year in the Society of Editors National Press Awards for 2013, for The Guardian’s coverage of the Edward Snowden revelations, was described as a worthy winner.

In presenting the fellowship, Doug Wills, President of the Society of Editors said: “Sometimes, some of us may not have agreed with every word or decision but one thing we are sure of is Alan’s commitment to the causes of media freedom and the public right to know - the causes at the centre of the mission and undertakings of the Society of Editors.”

Ian Beales, former chairman of the Editors’ Code Committee was awarded a fellowship at the Annual Gala Dinner on the evening of Monday 19 October alongside Maurice Frankel, Director of the Campaign for Freedom of Information who is leading the fight against changes to FoI.

Doug Wills, President of the Society of Editors, said that Ian had played a key role in helping to draw up the Editors’ Code of Practice when the PCC was established.

He added: “Ian has served on the committee since its inception, devised the Editors’ Codebook that is the definitive guide to previous decisions and adjudications and most recently he has been polishing the post-Leveson review of the Code in its new life under the IPSO umbrella.”

Maurice Frankel has worked with the Campaign for Freedom of Information since it was set up in 1984, and has been its director since 1987. He was a member of the Lord Chancellor's Advisory Group on Implementation of the Freedom of Information Act and of the Commonwealth Group of Experts whose Freedom of Information Principles were adopted by Commonwealth Law Ministers in 1999.

Maurice has been at the forefront of campaigning against attempts to limit the scope of the Act, charge for requests and is currently vocal in his opposition to the government’s consultation which is widely viewed as an effort to water down the Act.

Doug Wills said: “There is no bigger battle for us to fight this year than yet another attempt to undermine the Freedom of Information Act. Maurice is a not a media person but he is at home in our ranks as a vital communicator and campaigner on behalf of those of us who seek to inform public and the public themselves. If only they removed their blinkers he has also done politicians a huge service but sadly some of them think they know better.”

The Society of Editors conference was held from 18-20 October in London.