ASSOCIATION OF EUROPEAN  JOURNALISTS

UNITED KINGDOM SECTION

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Secretary's report for the UK Section's Annual General Meeting 2015

It has been another eventful year, with the ongoing crises in Ukraine and the Middle East, the Scottish referendum on independence, the rapid rise of the UKIP party, the European elections, the 100th anniversary of the First World War, and the continuing issue of mass surveillance and freedom of expression.

Among the highlights of our monthly lunchtime meetings with newsmakers were those with Fawaz A Gerges, Professor on International Relations at the LSE and prolific author and specialist on all aspects of the Middle East, who analysed the ideology and conquests of the ISIS jihadist group in Iraq and Syria; Anne Applebaum, a distinguished journalist and author, who gave us her views on the situation in Ukraine and Russia’s role in the conflict there; and then the outcome of the Scottish referendum on independence, as well as the heated debate about the UK and the European Court of Human Rights, at our meeting with Lord Lester of Herne Hill QC, an outstanding authority on the British constitution.

In 2014 we had a near-record membership level of 43 members. And the officers of the Committee were:

Chairman : William Horsley

Secretary : Margaret Hughes

Treasurer : Mike Springate

Though not part of the elected Committee, David Lennon is the Events Director and Celia Hampton is the AEJ UK Website Manager. Their work is also very important to the effective running of the UK Section.

 

 

The website www.aej-uk.org carries a full and accessible account of our various activities, statements and productive ties with other organisations, as well as useful links to items of special interest on the international AEJ website www.aej.org

Our lunchtime guest speakers since the last report were:

HE Dr Peter Ammon, German Ambassador to the UK

Lord Lester of Herne Hill QC, barrister, politician and constitutional expert

Fawaz A Gerges, Professor of International Relations at LSE, author and specialist in Middle East affairs

Margaret Macmillan, Professor of International History at Oxford University, Warden of St Anthony's College, author of The War that Ended Peace

Anne Applebaum, author, journalist and sovietologist

A special pre-European Parliament elections briefing with

Simon Hix, Professor of European and Comparative Politics, London School of Economics, and

Derk Jan Eppink, retiring Conservatives and Reformists Group MEP for Brussels, author and blogger

Dr Ian Brown, Associate Director, Cyber Security Centre at Oxford University: The Internet and the Law

Gus Hosein, Executive Director of Privacy International: what the Snowden files revealed

 

 

2015 meetings

After today’s meeting with historian and author Professor Robert Tombs, of St John's College, Cambridge, our next lunchtime meetings will be with Shadow Minister for Europe Pat McFadden MP on 3 March, Lord Malloch-Brown, former Deputy UN Secretary General and Minister at the FCO, on 24 March, and Richard Barratt, counter-terrorism expert and former head of counter-terrorism in MI6, on 17 April – full details, as always, on the website.

Campaigns and petitions

In 2014 UK Section members signed online petitions against the UK’s covert accessing of journalists’ mobile phone records to find the source of embarrassing leaks related to the "Plebgate" scandal and calling for the release of Peter Greste and the other Al Jazeera journalists jailed in Egypt.

Earlier petitions supported by AEJ UK members include those to "Save Presseurop" and to support the independent Russian polling organisation, The Levada Centre, which faced threats of closure at the hands of the Russian government.

If you haven’t done so already, you should sign up for the members only section of www.aej.org ; and, of course, visit the UK website www.aej-uk.org, which Celia regularly updates.

Margaret Hughes, Secretary AEJ UK

30 January 2015