In Turkey, local journalists are being put in prison while foreign journalists are being deported. Meanwhile, Poland changed its media law giving more power to the government and parliament.
These attacks on media freedom are being recorded by the Council of Europe (CoE) Platform on the protection and safety of journalists. In the past year, the CoE has recorded 125 alerts on media violations. Therefore, it is important to bring this issue on the top of the European agenda.
In February, a Danish journalist was detained and deported from Turkey adding to a total number of nine journalists who face restrictions from the Turkish authority. All these journalists arrested are linked to their reports on the Kurdish issue. The Kurdish issue is a no go area for journalists. The authority completely disregards media freedom which is an important pillar in a democratic country.
This is also the case in Poland. The government has turned the public broadcaster into their mouthpiece. Two years ago when I met with journalists and the management of the public broadcaster, the company is in a crisis with decline of licence fees and outsourcing problem.
In January, the EFJ together with the International Press Institute (IPI) and the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) carried out a solidarity and fact-finding mission to Poland. We met with journalists, editors, human rights activists, EU Ombudsman and a group of Members of the European Parliament. They expressed concerns over the situation in Poland and called for urgent actions.
It is not just in Turkey and Poland that media face attacks from governments. Public service broadcasters in Hungary, Spain and Greece are among the victims of government interference. When media are under legislative attacks, media pluralism and journalists will inevitably become the victims. If we let this trend spread to other countries, Europeâ€™s democracy will be at stake. Therefore, it is paramount that we stand together to uphold our democratic values in order to withstand the test during this difficult period.
(26.2.2016) Two Turkish journalists, Can DÃ¼ndar and Erdem GÃ¼l are finally released pending trial following months of intensive international campaign. A strong local and international support from journalists, trade unionists and press freedom organisations has been very active and effective for this case since the beginning of their arrests on November 26, 2015. DÃ¼ndar, editor-in-chief of Cumhuriyet, and GÃ¼l, the newspaperâ€™s Ankara bureau chief, were arrested on 26 November 2015 and accused of aiding a terrorist organisation, espionage and disclosure of classified documents based only on their articles, according to the indictment papers. The trial will be in Istanbul on 25 March and the EFJ will be present in the trial.
(23.2.2016) The ETUC organised a workshop on digitisation for its members at national level and the European industry federations including the EFJ. Esther Lynch, ETUC Confederal Secretary explained methods to best recognise employment relationship for digital workers. In her opinion, the different definitions of worker and employee throughout the European Union is a potential problem. She asked whether the ETUC should advocate for a Directive for online platform workers.Other themes discussed included digital skills, information & consultation rights for digital platform workers.
(28 - 19. 1.2016) The EFJ, the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) and the International Press Institute (IPI) organised a two-day fact-finding mission to Poland by calling on Polish journalists to stand together in defence of principles of press and media freedom.
Mission delegates met with a wide range of actors among journalists, lawyers and civil society activists, including representatives of Polandâ€™s leading journalists' associations. The delegation also made a series of recommendations and conclusions.
The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils MuiÅ¾nieks, called on the Polish government to respect European standards on media freedom and consults all stakeholders in the media law reform, following a four-day visit to Poland.
â€œPlacing public service media under direct government control by giving the latter the powers to appoint and dismiss the members of the supervisory and management boards of public service television and radio contradicts Council of Europe standards which notably require that public service media remain independent of political or economic interference,â€ said Nils MuiÅ¾nieks.
European parliamentarians declared to defend media freedom
A group of members of the European Parliament has made a declaration to promote and protect freedom expression and freedom of media. The declaration highlighted the important role of independent journalism in a democratic society. The MEPs called on the European Commission to monitor media freedom and open a dialogue with the Member States to better protect media freedom.
Germany negotiating new agreements
The EFJ affiliates in Germany, DJV and dju ver.di will start a new round of negotiation for 13000 journalists working for newspapers. The unions are asking the employers' organisations to approve a salary increase of 4.5% - 5% in the new collective agreements.
Itaian journalists negotiating new agreements
The collective agreement for journalists in Italy will expire on 31 March. The EFJ affiliate, FNSI will soon will start the negotation for a new agreement with the publishers' association FIEG.
(12.02.2016) FÃ¼sun ErdoÄŸan, the Turkish-Dutch journalist who was in jail for the last eight years visited EFJ and IFJ in Brussels. FÃ¼sun was released while pending trial in 2013 and exiled in the Netherlands. On 2 November 2013, FÃ¼sun Erdogan was given a life sentence and charged with being a member of an alleged terrorist organisation. At the time, the EFJ and its affiliate in the Netherlands, the Dutch Association of Journalists (NVJ), had campaigned for her immediate release. She told the IFJ and EFJ her hopes of getting a fair trial and the frustration of being convicted under fabricated charges. The trial will take place in Ankara on 23 March.
(12.02.2016) The issue of sexist hate speech is particularly acute for women journalists both off and online. Sexist forms of hate speech are direct manifestations of violence against women and girls, which remains the most pronounced expression of the uneven balance of power between women and men, one of the root causes of discrimination against women. The EFJ, represented by Pamela MoriniÃ¨re, participated in a seminar of the No Hate Speech Movement organised by the European Youth Centre in Strasbourg to exchange best practices on the issue.
Authors in dialogue with consumers
Journalists, authors, composers, film directors, screenwriters and consumer representatives came together the first time to discuss Europe's creativity in the digital age at the European Parliament on 27 January. The conference was hosted by MEP Pavel Svoboda (European People's Party), Chair of the Legal Affairs Committee of the Parliament with the aim to bring together authors and consumers to share their views for the upcoming copyright review. Represented by Mike Holderness and RÃ¼diger LÃ¼hr, the EFJ highlighted the importance of authors' rights in ensuring quality and authenticity of information.
On 24 April, the IFJ and EFJ will be celebrating as usual the World Copyright Day. It will be the moment to highlight among international organisations, such as the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) and UNESCO, but also to newspaper owners, that contractual freedom is damaging to authors' rights/copyright and has to be challenged in order to guarantee a balance of power when negotiating contracts. You can take part in the World Copyright Day by supporting our campaign for fair contracts and condemn the increase in contracts that undermine authors' rights/copyright in our profession.
In the coming months, the EFJ will organise a series of workshops for our members. Register now and don't miss our events!
Organising atypical workers in the audiovisual sector, Rome, 7 - 8 April
Cyber security training for journalists, Brussels, 25 - 27 May
Authors' rights workshop, Brussels, 30 May
EFJ SURVEYS What's your recruitment strategy? Share with us !
27 members have already responded. If you have not responded yet, click HERE! It only takes 5 minutes. The results of the survey will be analysed and published in a handbook on best practices in union recruitment and organising as part of EFJ project "Rights and Jobs in Journalism".
Working conditions of online journalists
The EFJ launched a survey aiming to get an overview of the working conditions of online journalists and ways to protect their interests through unions/associations.The survey reveals a dangerous trend where many online journalists face precarious working conditions. Please respond the survey and circulate the survey to your members.