The International Federation of Journalists today condemned a proposed "blacklist" of journalists and writers targeted by the New York Times accusing the paper of discrimination and an "irresponsible attack on press freedom and pluralism".
The writers being boycotted by the Times were behind a recent court action that challenged the company over its failure to consult them regarding the use of their work in on-line services.
"These writers and reporters are being victimised because of union activity and because they have stood up for their rights," said Christopher Warren, President of the IFJ, the world's largest journalists' group. "The drawing up of a blacklist like this is not only discrimination against trades unionists, but amounts to an irresponsible attack on press freedom and pluralism."
The IFJ said that the company's action would be illegal in many countries. "In some parts of the world this sort of discrimination for union activity would be a criminal offence," said Warren. "It is astonishing that one of the world's great newspapers is resorting to this sort of bitter recrimination over a disagreement on fundamental principles of journalism and intellectual property."
The journalists and writers, who challenged the New York Times, took their case to the United States Supreme Court where they won a stunning victory for reporters and writers throughout the United States.
"These colleagues have fought for and secured recognition of fundamental rights in a case that has implications for the rights of authors and for the independence of media around the world," said Warren.
The IFJ is calling for the New York Times to repudiate the introduction of the planned list of boycotted writers and for a fresh start in relations between the company and its journalists and writers. "This sort of confrontation is bad for business, bad for journalism and bad for the reputation of the New York Times, " said Warren. "The Company needs to think again."