It has been two years since the killing of the Maltese journalist, Daphne Caruana Galizia. Since then two more journalists were killed including the Slovakian journalist, Jan Kuciak, and recently the Bulgarian journalist, Victoria Marinuva. Although we are not certain that the recent killing of Marinuva was linked to her journalism, what we are certain is that the killers of the three journalists are the enemies of media freedom. Yet, they are still free.
We cannot let the masterminds of the killings go free. We must stand together with our colleagues and call on the governments to do more to protect journalists. The EFJ has been constantly putting pressure on the responsible governments to resolve the cases. At the international level, the EFJ has backed the IFJ campaign calling for a UN Convention to protect journalists and media professionals, which we encourage you to join.
In Europe, we must continue to put pressure on our governments to implement national action plans delivered by the Council of Europe’s Recommendation for the Protection of Journalism and the Safety of Journalists and other media actors. Actions are being taken by some countries. Sweden has implemented the UN action plan and the Netherlands has also implemented the recommendations from the Council of Europe. In Denmark, media stakeholders are now discussing with ministries on how to fulfil their responsibility. Hopefully, this will happen in many more countries in Europe so our journalists can work freely without any fear.
We also need to do our part to report cases of violence and threats against journalists when it happens. Because if we ignore these threats, we only encourage the perpetrators to further the violence.
Let's act now and end impunity for crimes against journalists!
Mogens Blicher Bjerregård EFJ President
(02.11.18) Marking the day to end impunity for crimes against journalists, the partner organisations of the Council of Europe safety platform, including the EFJ and the IFJ, have decided to move a number of alerts, initially submitted to the Platform as physical attacks, to the category of “impunity”. This decision is based on their assessment that the responding authorities failed to comply with their obligations deriving from Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights following killings, attacks and ill-treatment of journalists. One alert concerns the murder of a journalist in Turkey (murder of a Syrian Journalist Naji Jerf), while the other five concern severe physical attacks against journalists in: Serbia (Ivan Ninić case), Russia (publisher Denis Shaikin and reporter Dmitri Remisov), Greece (reporter Demitrios Perros) and Macedonia (journalist Marjan Stamenkovski). Following this decision, there will be 26 impunity alerts on the Platform, including 17 cases of impunity for murders of journalists. The special page on the impunity for murder can be accessed here.
What happened one year after Daphne Caruana Galizia's killing ?
(16.10.18) 16 October was the first anniversary of the death of Daphne Caruana Galizia. The brutal killing of Daphne showed that journalists are increasingly exposed to danger. The investigation on her murder has made little or no progress so far.
Following a silent vigil to honour her memory organised in front of the Residence Palace in Brussels, the EFJ demanded concrete actions from political decision-makers.
Transitional solidarity fund to be launched for journalists in Turkey
Journalists in Turkey have in recent years been facing unprecedented state crackdown. Despite the lifting in July 2018 of a two-year long state of emergency, the press continues to be stifled and journalists are facing prosecutions, unsecured job situation and right abuses. Thousands of journalists have been sacked in recently years, particularly in the last two years, with catastrophic impact on the victims and their families. To support journalists in need and their families, the International and European Federations of Journalists will establish a transitional solidarity fund for journalists in Turkey.
This solidarity fund will provide financial relief to prosecuted and sacked journalists. It will offer legal and humanitarian support to targeted journalists or their families and will constitute a rapid response to acute cases and longer-term support for the most in need. The IFJ/EFJ transitional Solidarity Fund will cover the following areas of assistance:
Legal advice or defense of prosecuted or jailed journalists/media staff.
Immediate humanitarian assistance for journalists or families of journalists and media staff whose “bread-winner” has been jailed or prosecuted.
Medical fees for jailed/prosecuted journalists or a family member.
(30.10.18) The EFJ Steering Committee expressed solidarity with Italian journalists affected by the sale of the magazine “Panorama”.Mondadori’s recent decision to sell Panorama to La Verità will force the 24 journalists working for the magazine to accept 45% cut of their salary. Otherwise the magazine will face closure by January 2019. La Verità, the small publishing company that will own the magazine after 31 October, is led by journalist Maurzio Belpietro, a friend of Berlusconi family.
(18.10.18) The Helsinki District Court issued a symbolic verdict against online disinformation and hate speech. Jessikka Aro, a Finnish journalist investigating how pro-Russia disinformation is spread through social media and websites believed to be linked to Russia, has been the target of death threats and discredit campaign. The two main defendants were ordered to pay damages and compensation amounting to €136 000 and received prison sentences. It makes Finland the first European country to directly fight Internet trolls.
(10.10.18) Following the EFJ workshop on freelance rights (see below) the Freelance Expert Group met in Stockholm and discussed priorities including the crucial lobbying on the EU Draft directive on copyright, national trends and subjects for a future webinar. The evaluation of the workshop was also on the agenda, with a lot of positive feedback received. The meeting also discussed how to most successfully campaign for improved working conditions and legal frameworks when organisational capacity is limited.
Experts from Western and Eastern Europe exchanged on labour rights issues
(31.10.18) The Labour rights expert group met in Brussels together with the LAREG+, including affiliates from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo, to exchange about the improvement and deterioration of labour rights situation in their countries. The pairing between both sides of Europe is possible thanks to the EU-UNESCO funded project entitled "Building Trust in Media in South East Europe and Turkey". Mehmet Koksal used this opportunity to present the upcoming actions as part of the project, which include the development of a charter on journalists' working conditions, an award for students in journalism, as well as a training in Kosovo.
(17.10.18) The EFJ Broadcasting Expert Group met in Belgrade at the Serbian public service media RTS. The meeting had a discussion with RTS management and editors-in-chief specifically on the transformation process towards integrating news desks.
The meeting exchanged trends and developments at national level and expressed great concern about unprecedented attacks against public service media, in particular in Austria, Italy, France and Denmark. Other themes were the next EFJ Managing change workshop on public service media to take place in Bucharest in early 2019. The continued good cooperation with the EBU was appreciated by the group.
In addition, the group took part in a regional workshop on developing a code of conduct/editorial guidelines for public service media in Western Balkans, a project financed by the European Commission. BREG members shared their national experience and practices on the implementation of codes of conduct. The workshop highlighted the lack of self-regulation machanism in the 6 PSM in Western Balkan in order to ensure editorial independence. Nevertheless, the workshop obtained commitment from the participants in the In the coming six months, the EFJ expert will be assisting and coaching the six PSM aim order to develop and better implement their code of conduct within the framework of the project.
(06.11.18) The EFJ together with unions and employers’ organisations in the audio-visual sector has signed a joint declaration concerning the current negotiation on Brexit between the EU and the UK government. In the declaration, the group called on the negotiators on both sides to ensure that the interests of the Audiovisual industry across the EU and the UK be protected in the current negotiations and in particular to give special consideration to the potentially very severe damage for their business operators and workers if the future framework for the cooperation between the EU and the UK Audiovisual sector are not adapted. Read the full text here.
Unconference | European Media Literacy Toolkit for Newsrooms
(06.11.18) The EFJ successfully organised in Brussels together with the Global Editors Network (GEN) the first “conference” to develop a Media Literacy Toolkit for Newsrooms around Europe. The event gathered journalists, data scientist, academics, trade unionists affiliated to the EFJ and representatives from international institutions. The findings will be compiled in a white paper to be published in the coming weeks on the EFJ website. The second “unconference” will be organised in Vienna on 23 January 2019. Stay tuned!
(10.10.18) A workshop addressing best practices and solutions for freelance work in journalism was held in Stockholm, in cooperation with our Swedish affiliate Svenska Journalistförbundet. The debate, involving over 40 union representatives and legal experts, focused on improving working conditions, decent pay, access to training for freelancers and precarious media workers in Europe. One of the key issues shared by the participants was the restriction imposed by competition laws on the rights of freelance journalists to conduct collective bargaining on their fees. In some EU countries, freelance workers and their unions were accused of price-fixing and forming a cartel when negotiating collective agreement with freelance fees. Furthermore, the legal advisor of the ETUC mentioned the lobbying actions to improve the rights of freelance workers through the draft Commission proposal on Transparent and predictable working conditions.
Apply now for an Expert Exchange Visit!
Are you in need of an expert to renew your organisation's organising and recruitment policy, or good practices ideas for serving freelance members, or an expert on collective bargaining? Now with the EFJ Expert Exchange Visit programme (EEV), you can recruit an expert from the EFJ membership, whether they are experts in collective bargaining, legal aspect, recruitment, or labour rights, to visit your organisation for a training, workshop or simply to talk to your staff or board members to exchange good practices. The aim of the EEV is to provide coaching specific to the need of a particular union or association within a particular national context. It will be a more effective mean for journalists' unions and associations to exchange best practices and improve their expertise and create an innovative multiplier effect through face-to-face training.
What do we cover?
The EFJ will pay for the travel cost of one expert to visit your organisation and cover two-night accommodation. The EEV is funded under the project "Managing Change in the Media" funded by the European Commission (DG Employment).
Apply for the next workshop on "Modernising public service media through innovation and dialogue"
We invite you to attend the next workshop on “Modernising public service media through innovation and dialogue” to take place in Bucharest, Romania, on the 4th and 5th of March 2019. The workshop will bring together journalists, trade unions and social partners (public broadcasters) to address recent challenges and develop strategies to ensure quality and independence in public service media in a period of digital changes, to improve working conditions of media workers in public service media and to regain trust in the media. Don't miss the deadline and register before 15th January 2019 here.
Organising Forum on how unions can better reach out to atypical workers
(30 - 31 October) The EFJ and its members from Estonia, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden participated in a two-day Organising Forum for trade unions in the creative and media sector in Rotterdam. The Forum was jointly organised by the four federations representing journalists (EFJ), actors (FIA), musicians(FIM) and technicians and media workers (UNI-MEI) in a followed-up project led by FIA on “Reaching the Full Potential of Social Dialogue for All Workers”. Good practices were showcased among the members of the federations on how to better reach out and organise atypical media workers. The workshop also brought three professional union organisers and trainers who will provide training to national unions.
In the frame of the EU tripartite negotiations on the draft Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market (DSM), the IFJ and the EFJ called on EU institutions to stand up for journalism by safeguarding journalists’ rights to fair and proportionate remuneration from the new neighbouring right and strengthening the Proposal’s transparency provisions. Following the adoption of a Proposal by the European Parliament on 12 September, trialogue negotiations have started between the European Parliament, Council and Commission, who have each a different set of proposals, to find a common text.
In a statement published on 25 October, the EFJ and IFJ reiterated our grave concerns over the rampant misuse of journalistic works online, the serious threat to independent journalism, and the unfair licensing practices and the buy-out contracts imposing on journalists. The federations, which lead a joint campaign with a coalition of authors’ organisations, the Authors Group (AG), called on the EU institutions to adopt an alternative version of Recital 35 and safeguard Article – 14, to ensure a fair and proportionate remuneration from the digital use of their works, irrespective of the contractual terms concluded between publishers and authors and of national industry licensing standards. The federations cautioned against the adoption of any proposal that would marginalise authors or deprive them of a fair and proportionate share of the new revenue.
(6. 11. 2018) The European Council adopted the revised Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD). Member states will have 21 months to transpose it into national legislation. The Directive establishes a set of criteria that the regulator has to follow in ordered to be considered independent. First of all, it should be legally distinct from the government and functionally independent. Secondly, it should not take instructions from any other body in accomplishing its tasks. Thirdly, it should respect media pluralism and be transparent and impartial in the exercise of its power. Finally, its powers have to be clearly defined by the state’s law, holding all the necessary resources to exercise its competencies effectively. Read here for more information.
(18.10.2018) The Employment Committee of the European Parliament (EMPL) has voted on a draft Directive on Transparent and predictable working conditions. The draft legislation aims to improve the rights and working conditions of workers in non-standard forms of employment including certain freelance workers. It comes as a response to recent resolutions in which Parliament has called on the Commission to review the precedent directive of 1991, lacking of protection for new forms of employment, so that all workers could enjoy a common core set of rights. The next step will be the vote in Plenary session of the European Parliament in the coming months.
The report "Media reporting: facts, nothing but facts?" published by the European Audiovisual Observatory, gives an overview of how the principles of accuracy, objectivity and fairness in news and current affairs reporting are regulated at the European and national level, as well as how they are applied by European media organisations.
Find the full report here.
The handbook "Journalism, ‘Fake News’ & Disinformation", published by the UNESCO, is designed to give to both journalism educators and trainers a framework to help navigate the issues associated with “fake news”. In this publication, you may find some responses to the problem of disinformation that confronts societies in general, and journalism in particular.
Find the handbook here.
Books, articles and blogs about journalism - for journalists
The Reuters Institute published an interesting reading list of some of the best books and blogs about journalism for journalists. It include readings on audience behaviour, innovation, disinformation, censorship and propaganda....In total there are 17 categories. You can find the full list here.
Covering protests and demonstrations is part of journalism's core function for disseminating public interest information. However, often media workers are subjected to intimidations and attacks by the authorities. OBCT's analyses available on the Media Freedom Resource Centre offers examples of violations of journalists’ right covering street protests in Europe and the precautions taken by them in this regard. The article also offers an overview of legislationfrom Europe and the US legislations, including relevant ECtHR case laws.
Following the unanimous decision of the members of the EFJ Steering Committee, the 2019 General Meeting (GM) will be hosted by our Estonian affiliate, the Estonian Union of Journalists (Eesti Ajakirjanike Liit - EAL), on 9 and 10 May 2019, in Tallinn. Around 100 delegates and guests from across Europe will be attending the meeting. Please save the dates and we are looking forward to seeing you in Tallinn!