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IFJ supports UK health service whistleblower facing disciplinary action for talking to magazine about health policy

(IFJ/IFEX) - The following is a 2 November 2007 IFJ media release:

European Journalists Support UK Health Service Whistleblower as They Stand Up for Journalism

The International Federation of Journalists and its regional group the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) today gave their full support to a whistleblower in the United Kingdom, a nurse who is facing disciplinary action for talking about health policy to a local magazine.

Karen Reissmann is to address a rally organised by the EFJ affiliate, the National Union of Journalists, to mark Stand Up for Journalism! day on Monday November 5, a day of action for European journalists.

She has been suspended from work in the UK on accusations of bringing the Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust into disrepute.

"People need to know what is happening in the health service and courageous sources like Karen are vital to keep journalism's watchdog role alive," said EFJ General Secretary Aidan White. "The British Health Trust should not have taken disciplinary actions against her."

Reissmann, a UNISON trade union official and a community psychiatric nurse, was suspended in June after she was quoted in a Manchester-based magazine called Enterprising. She was criticising the government policy of transferring some health services to the voluntary sector.

Reissmann's colleagues believe she is being victimised for her trade union activity and they have been on strike for 13 days to back her - with at least one more day planned. UNISON - Britain's second biggest union - is giving them full support.

The EFJ Day of Action to Stand Up for Journalism! - the first of its kind - will be marked by many coordinated actions throughout Europe by unions who are in the membership of the European Federation of Journalists. This includes a two-minute work stoppage by media workers in Serbia, Germany, Greece and Slovenia, a demonstration outside the National Assembly in Paris, a major trade union demonstration in Rome, roundtable debates about quality and many other activities all over Europe.

For more information on the Stand Up for Journalism! campaign go to: http://www.ifj.org/default.asp?Issue=StandUpForJournalism&Language=EN

Click here to read a statement from the NUJ: http://www.ifj.org/pdfs/NUJ021107.pdf

The EFJ represents over 230,000 journalists in 32 countries.

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