It's time to move on. Our finance is in good shape; various but firm visions are expressed by our affiliates and steering committee members; challenges are being tackled by a dedicated staff team; the growing recognition and reputation of the EFJ enables us to make a change.
During the last five years, the EFJ has expanded its activities delivering ever more services to affiliates. Tackling precarious work, defending freelances’ rights, authors’ rights, press freedom, and promoting the protection of sources and journalists’ safety have been our focus. We have also seen an increase number of projects which allowed us to implement actions in collaboration with our members and other like-minded organisation.
Our financial outlook is looking stronger with a surplus of over 40.000 € in 2017. In the coming year, we shall consolidate and ensure that the financial status of the organisation is sustainable. Therefore, we will continue our work and further develop our strategies and cooperation with European Institutions, the Council of Europe, the OSCE to ensure the safety of journalists in Europe.
There are many challenges ahead of us. We will be ever more focused and meet these challenges.
Mogens Blicher Bjerregård EFJ President
EFJ Annual Meeting 2018
Highlights of the 2018 Annual Meeting in Lisbon
"Our precarity is your disinformation" was the theme of the 2018 EFJ Annual Meeting which took place on 6 June in Lisbon. Around 30 countries were represented through 50 delegates to contribute to the upcoming EFJ working programme.
As an introduction, Miguel Crespo from the Department of Sociology at the Instituto Universitario de Lisboa presented a study about journalists and journalism in Portugal. The results are alarming: 77,9% of the respondents are not satisfied with the evolution of their working conditions in the last 5 years; More than 2/3 of the respondents earn between 501€ and 1,500€ net per month; 64,2% have thought of leaving journalism. The most expressed motivations were low income (21%), and the degradation of working conditions (20,4%). Those results highlighted the necessity for unions to adapt changes and get to grips with precariousness. Positive actions from Russia, Montenegro and Italy were showcased during the roundtable. Prior to adopting the 23 resolutions (available here in English), the Annual Meeting has adopted the expert group reports, the projects, the financial reports and the 2018 budget.
The Mayor of Lisbon, Fernando Medina, took the time to welcome the affiliates and say a few words about his commitment to press freedom, tolerance and diversity.
(07.06.18) Following the adoption of the resolution “On the situation of Austrian public service media with letter to the Austrian governement” tabled by GPA-DJP, the EFJ sent a letter on 7 June 2018 to Gernot Blümel, Austrian Minister for the European Union (EU), Art, Culture and Media to urge him to support the Austrian public service media (ORF).Read here the letter.
Italy includes digital tasks in journalistic contract
Digital evolution of journalistic profession was finally recognized in the framework of FNSI-USPI collective agreement. For the first time, tasks related to web activities will have to be included in the journalistic contract, as web editor, videomaker, web image editor, social media and community manager, web developer, web designer.
(08.05.2018) As part of the "Building Trust in Media in South East Europe and Turkey" project, the EFJ together with its affiliates in the region launched a video campaign, focusing on the working conditions of journalists in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey. This campaign aims to push for better working conditions for journalists in order to support the production of quality journalism and rights of the public to access information. Campaign can be found under the hashtag #TrustInMediaSEE.
In addition, a new report on labour rights of journalists in Western Balkans and Turkey was published in cooperation with the Labour Rights Experts Group Plus (LAREG+), containing national reports and recommendations for improving the existing situation.
The last activity was the photo exhibition “Journalists’ working conditions in Western Balkans and Turkey” held in the Press Club Brussels on 12-19 June, showcasing the backstage of the journalists' work in the region. Through a series of powerful photographs, not avoiding a pinch of irony, the heavy workload, pressure, protests, and difficult situations were captured by the photoreporters from all over the region. All this activities were possible thanks to EU and Unesco funds.
(12.06.2018) Modernisation and renewal of trade unions for easier adaptation to fast changing media environment was one of the core discussions during the workshop on 4-5 June in Lisbon, Portugal, organised in the framework of the "Managing Change in media" project. The participants agreed on a necessity to reach out to young and freelance journalists, as well as respond to the needs of female journalists. The next workshop, to take place in Stockholm on 10-11 October, will be on organising freelance journalists. Stay tuned!
The ethics, quality and general impact to the market of robot journalism was discussed during the workshop on 5 June in Lisbon, Portugal. Robot journalism is already a reality in the newsrooms to cater the fast track of news cycle and the quantity of it. Well designed algorithms can free the journalists from mundane work as collecting raw data for economic updates and generate similar articles every day, while the journalists can focus on more in-depth investigations. However, the drawbacks of relying on automation were voiced, such as loosing the basic skills of a journalist which consist an essential set of skills for investigative journalist work. The raised ethical concerns regarding the easier production of false news, therefore the artificial intelligence should not be fully trusted for producing the news - a human journalists should still keep an eye to ensure the ethical and moral factors.
ETUC - ReBalance
Share your good practices of the work-life balance
in the media sector
The ETUC project called 'REBALANCE: Trade unions' and social partners' actions to improve reconciliation of work, family and private life for women and men" is looking for good practices of the work-life balance in the media sector. Your input will be included in a study on trade unions/social partners’ good practices to promote work-life balance in 10 countries (Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Lithuania, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden). Therefore, the project team is inviting affiliates to identify and share the good practices in your work rooms, which could compliment the growing good-practices database with already more than 30 examples. Send your contribution to email@example.com as soon as possible.
Media Camp trained journalists on migration reporting
How can journalists in Europe improve their reporting on migrants and migration related issues? As part of an EU-funded project “Silence Hate”, the EFJ participated as a trainer and partner in a five-day media camp in London on 23 – 27 April organized by Media Diversity Institute (MDI). Ricardo Gutierrez, EFJ General Secretary and an experienced former journalist together with experienced cinematographer, cameraman and editor David Hands, freelance journalist and MDI Communications Manager Danica Dasha Ilic, successfully trained 30 journalists and civil society activists during the five-day training. The journalists developed innovative ideas on how to report and campaign against hate speech directed towards refugees, asylum seekers and migrants coming to Europe. Their ideas will be developed into media projects.
Following months of debates, the European Parliament's Legal Affairs Committee (JURI) adopted on 20th June its position on the Proposal for a Directive on copyright in the Digital single market. IFJ and EFJ have applauded the positive outcome of the vote regarding the transparency triangle and its benefits for authors, but warned against dangerous provisions attached to the publishers’ neighboring right that are directly affecting journalists' authors' rights.
Protection of whistleblowers: we have to act now!
An email was sent to all affiliates in the European Union to share some information about the whistleblower directive which is being discussed in the European Parliament. In a nutshell:
The European Commission published a directive for proposal in April 2018 (here in English)
The JURI committee has taken the file. French MEP Virginie Rozière (S&D) is the rapporteur. She will present her report on the 10th of July. The final text is foreseen to be voted in plenary session in October or November.
The next step will be the adoption by the Council of the European Union, i.e. the Member States. The objective is to have it voted by the 2019 European elections in May.
The main point of concern for the EFJ is the three-tiered approach which doesn't allow whistleblowers to go public in the first place (article 13). The EFJ is lobbying to get rid of the mandatory procedure (first internal, second external, third public) to follow when blowing the whistle.
Please let Camille know (firstname.lastname@example.org) whether you are interested and would like to get involved in the legislative process.
Does your government respect media freedom when implementing
the EU Trade Secrets directive?
Member states had until June 2018 to transpose the trade secrets directive into national law. The directive raised doubts as to whether journalists and their sources are appropriately protected. Despite significant progress obtained throughout the legislative process, some exceptions and wording remained unclear.
The EFJ would like to create a database mapping national legislations in order to identify the strengths and weaknesses of each law. Please send the final text adopted by your parliament as well as your recommendations if any to Camille Petit (email@example.com).
374 alerts sent to the Council of Europe since 2015
Three years ago, in April 2015, the platform for protection of journalism and safety of journalist has been launched, aiming to improve the protection of journalists and information under the Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The platform is set to alert about any violation of article 10 in a more systematic way and to take timely and coordinated action when necessary.
Alerts submitted by EFJ/IFJ
and in cooperation with other partner organisations since 2015
The Digital News Report 2018 has been released earlier this week, providing the insights from the consumer research by the Reuters institute for the study of journalism. The report reveals global pattern of rising distrust in Social media for sharing the news content, critical approach towards so-called "fake news", as well as analysing the news literacy for the first time. Consumers are calling for media and tech companies to take the responsibility for combating the misinformation, however, there are mixed opinions about government's interference in the situation. Find the full report here.
As measures against fake news are widely debated across Europe, the protocol adopted by the Italian Interior Ministry on the eve of political elections, enabling the Postal Police to fact-check and report contents, has caused concern in the public debate. The legal analysis by Sofia Verza critically discusses the various aspects of the measure.
In the last five years, the EFJ had held its Annual Meetings in Moscow, Montenegro, Sarajevo, Bucharest and Lisbon. Where will the next Annual Meeting be? If you are interested in hosting the next EFJ Annual Meeting, please express your interest and send your application form to Ricardo Gutiérrez (firstname.lastname@example.org) before the 26th of October 2018. The theme will be "Gender equality in the media sector".