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2 October 2013

Authors' Rights and Credible Journalism

A new EU Directive on Collective Rights Management could have created a major problem for authors’ rights and for journalism in Europe. The draft law failed to take into account the existing, well-functioning licencing and extended licencing systems developed by some European countries that ensure authors and rightsholders are remunerated easily and fairly for the secondary use of their works.

Fortunately, the situation was remedied through the remarkable cooperation among rightsholders and even some European ministers, as well as the commitment from the commissioner in charge of this issue. The final draft, including aspects of existing licencing systems, is being discussed at the trialogue level among the European Commission, the European Parliament, and the European Council.

The EFJ has been proactive in lobbying for the protection of authors’ rights for two reasons. Firstly, authors should be paid fairly for the use of their works. This is also a key issue in the heated debate on private copying levies. Secondly, the credibility of journalism is at stake. Quality journalism means credible content. This also means that journalists can fully take control of the use of their works. But this can only happen if authors’ rights are protected.

In the digital age, this might seem difficult. But it shouldn’t be. If we can make agreements collectively or individually specifying further uses, journalists and their organisations can have the basis to protect their moral rights. But such protection can only be afforded if the right to be financially compensated is also enforced. Such agreements can ensure journalists fulfill their duties in creating ethical and high-quality journalism.

Authors’ rights are not only about authors getting paid, but also about protecting and promoting high ethical standards and credible journalism.

Mogens Blicher Bjerregård


Journalism is not a Crime

Ricardo Gutiérrez, the EFJ General Secretary, has written his account during his visit to Istanbul, Turkey for the hearing of imprisoned journalists. The sixth hearing of the KCK Press Wing trial against 44 journalists (22 of whom were still in prison) resumed at Silivri 15th Criminal Court on Friday. The court later released two journalists, Irfan Bilgiç and Fatma Koçak, leaving 20 journalists in the KCK case in prison. 

(25.09.2013) Zeynep Kuray (pictured) smiles, but inside her she feels the anger. Sitting on the steps of the new courthouse outside the Silivri prison complex, Kuray is among the 44 journalists who attended the trial on Tuesday at the Criminal High Court in Turkey.

Kuray is an investigative journalist for the left-wing daily BirGun and a correspondent for Firat News Agency. She was accused of being a member of the illegal party (the Kurdistan Workers’ Party) and engaging in terrorist activities. If found guilty, Kuray will be put behind bars for seven years under the country’s terrorism law.

But most journalists who are prosecuted under similar circumstances, they remain positive like Kuray. She continues to write in prison and has spoken out against the poor conditions women prisoners face. Reporter Baris Terkoglu, prosecuted in another case (OdaTV), made the same choice: "To abandon my job would have been a victory for prosecutors who obey government orders’’ (Read more)

On 24 September, Esben Ørberg and Mehmet Ulger from the journalists’ unions in Denmark (DJ) and the Netherlands (NVJ), respectively, also attended the trial concerning journalist, Füsun ErdoÄŸan and showed their solidarity.  Read Esben's account HERE

On 25 September, EFJ observer Joachim Legatis of the German union dju in ver.di attended the KCK trial in Diyarbakir. Read his account HERE

A Message from Zeynep Kuray

Upcoming Activities
8 October, Istanbul

10 October, Istanbul

28 October, Istanbul
Defamation case against ETHA news agency
EFJ observer: 
Arne König

First hearing for journalist Sami MenteÅŸ (Yurt newspaper). EFJ observer: Arne König

KCK Press Wing trial

New Steering Committee Meets in Brussels

(18.09.2012) The EFJ Steering Committee in its first meeting confirmed the future works on authors’ rights, labour rights, freelance and broadcasting issues of the existing working groups (AREG, LAREG, FREG and BREG). The Committee also agreed to create a new working group to focus on online, cross-media and digitisation developments in the media. 

The EFJ has sent a letter to members calling for nominations before 21 October. In order to strengthen the link between the Committee and each working group, the EFJ has proposed that each expert group include a member of the Committee as the expert. The Committee also proposed ways for closer cooperation among relevant expert groups. A joint meeting will be organised between the freelance and labour rights expert groups. 

Contact: Ricardo Gutiérrez

Highlights from Twitter

Bringing you trending media news from our Twitter network this week:
Remember to follow @EFJEUROPE

The Google Challenge

(24.09.2013) Being an internet giant, Google has made content widely spread across the online world. But it also presents a major challenge for journalists, particularly freelance journalists whose business model is threatened by Google’s attempt to use content for free.

To better counter the challenge, some EFJ affiliates took part in an online webinar to discuss the challenge posed by Google in the media sector. Participants discussed recent developments in Germany and Belgium where Google is lobbying for legal changes in copyright law. Participants also shared strategies developed at national level to counter Google’s intense lobbying. 

Stand Up for Journalism #SUFJ

Colleagues, it is time for action!

On 5 November, the EFJ and its affiliates will continue the memento to Stand Up for Journalism by spotlighting the impact of anti-terror and national security law on journalism in Europe. The EFJ has called on members to demand their governments to review all anti-terror and national security laws to prevent the misuse of anti-terror laws against journalists.

What can you do?
Unions in Europe and around the world can launch initiatives or highlight a campaign in their countries as part of a week focusing on issues concerning journalists, including:
  • Post protests, slogans and pictures on Twitter with the hashtag #SUFJ,
  • Ask individual members and activists to send an electronic postcard (which will be available soon) to their respective governments with the slogan “Journalism is not a crime”.
For more information, please visit our campaign page

Journalists Visit EFJ

(20.09.2013) Guillaume Perrier, the Istanbul correspondent of the French daily Le Monde, was a guest at the Belgian Senate where he gave a lecture on the Armenian genocide before visiting the EFJ headquarters in Brussels to support our campaign Set Journalists Free in Turkey.

On the same day, around twenty broadcasting and online journalists from the Finnish Union of Journalists also visited the EFJ and were briefed about the EFJ’s work in defending their rights in Europe. 

Photographer on Greenpeace Ship Detained

(19.09.2013) Russian photographer Denis Sinyakov was detained and accused of committing piracy in Russian Arctic waters while on assignment for Greenpeace. The well-known freelance photographer, who works for news agencies such as Reuters and AFP, was one of 30 people on board the Greenpeace ship accused of piracy for allegedly trying to board a Gazprom Oil Platform in a protest against oil drilling in the Artic. (Read more

European Court Rules in Favour of Journalists in Defamation Case

(24.09.2013) The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled in favour of the head of the Italian daily Il Giornale in a defamation case (Belpietro vs Italy). Il Giornale Director Maurizio Belpietro was sued for defamation because of an article published in 2004 accusing Italian judges and prosecutors of using political strategies in their fight against the Mafia. However, the court considered that the complaint against Belpietro was a violation of press freedom and ordered the Italian state to apologise to Belpietro and to pay a compensation of €10,000 for non-pecuniary damage.

The EFJ affiliate in Italy, FNSI, has welcomed the ruling saying that ‘’this is a slap on the country’s justice system and the parliament where the issue of defamation is always being postponed’’. 

Negotiations at RTP in a Gloomy Context

The Portugese Union of Journalists (SDJ) is currently negotiating a new collective agreement with the state-own Radio and Television Portugal (RTP). As the future of RTP remains uncertain, negotiations are proving to be difficult. According to the plan tabled by the government, state subsidies to RTP will be reduced and restructuring will take place. SDJ has demanded RTP to clarify its restructuring plan and urged the Portugese parliament to prevent the illegal suppression of state subsidy.

Journalists Join Anti-Fascist Rally

(25.09.2013) Journalists and media workers across Greece joined an anti-fascist rally held in a central square in Athens, condemning the killing of anti-fascist rap singer Pavlos Fyssas on 18 September. Allegedly, Fyssas was killed by a supporter of the extreme right-wing Golden Dawn party.   The journalists’ unions in Greece have issued statements condemning the violence.

Meanwhile, on 26 September, the headquarters of the daily Proto Thema in Athens was vandalised by unknown assailants, causing material damages.

EFJ Pushes For Transparency in Media Ownership

(24.09.2013) The EFJ took part in a round-table discussion on Transparency of Media Ownership in Europe launched by Access Info and the Open Society Media Programme in collaboration with the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). Participants discussed a set of ten recommendations for more transparency of media ownership through mandatory regulations. These recommendations will be finalised by the end of the year and promoted among European and national lawmakers for adoption. (Read more

EFJ President to Intervene at Ministerial Conference

EFJ President Mogens Blicher Bjerregård will intervene at the Ministerial conference with 47 ministers from the Council of Europe (CoE) member states in Belgrade, Serbia, on 7 and 8 November.

The Freedom of Expression and Democracy in the Digital Age: Opportunities, Rights and Responsibilities conference will discuss major difficulties to protect media freedom and democracy in an increasingly challenging environment at the Ministerial level. Blicher Bjerregård will speak at the Ministerial session on finding ways to address the current threats to journalism.

The EFJ will also participate in the PACE debate taking place ahead of the Ministerial conference. (Read more)

Contact: Marc Gruber 

Ukrainian and Polish Journalists Sign Declaration of Cooperation

(24.09.13) Ukrainian and Polish journalists signed a Declaration of Cooperation as a significant step towards future collaboration among unions in the two countries. The agreement was signed by the leaders of independent media organisations in Ukraine and Poland: Independent Media Trade Union of Ukraine Chairperson Yuriy Lukanov, National Association of Journalists of Ukraine Chairperson Oleh Nalyvaiko, and Association of Polish Journalists (SDP) Chairperson Krzysztof Skowroński.

The Agreement noted: "Europe is a common cultural space and common space of freedom. However, we journalists from Central and Eastern Europe, having similar experiences of communist totalitarianism, censorship and systematic changes during a struggle for freedom of expression and independent journalism, seek to pay special attention to journalistic problems in Europe."

Study on Copyright Contracts Spotlights on Unfair Practices

The EFJ and authors’ and performers’ organisations have long been lobbying for actions to tackle the issue of unfair practices in copyright contracts. Recently, the European Parliament has taken up the issue and launched a comparative study on “the law and practice regarding contractual arrangement for creators in Europe”.

The study covers France, Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Poland, Hungary, and Belgium. The relevant EFJ affiliates have been asked to contribute to this study. The EFJ has also sent a list of sample contracts which include unfair clauses to the consultant responsible for the study.

The EFJ hopes that the study will lead to concrete legislative actions taken by the European Parliament to address the growing concern over unfair contractual practices in the creative sector. The study is expected to be published at the end of this year.

Parliament to Discuss Private Copying Levy Proposals

The European Parliament is working on proposals to levy computers and other electronic devices including cloud services for copying for private use. In a draft initiative report, MEP Françoise Castex recognises that private copy levy is an essential source of revenue for the cultural sector and proposes a blanket levy for all devices which aims to copy and stock protected works for private purposes. The MEP also calls on the need to better inform consumers about the amount of levy they have to bear. Copies of works made in the cloud should also be considered for compensation and private copy levy cannot be replaced by a licence system.

On 1 October, the EFJ attended a forum organised by MEP Marielle Gallo on private copying. Representatives of consumers' organisations, collecting societies, and other key stakeholders were also present to discuss the future of private copying policy in Europe.

Enforcing Copyright Infringement in the Digital World

(24.09.2013) The EFJ attended a working group meeting held by the European Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights (IAMO) to discuss the challenges of enforcing intellectual property (IP) rights in the digital world. 

The EFJ stressed the need to explore the level of moral rights infringements in the online environment and to investigate the economic impact of copyright infringement on creators’ income. 

The IAMO is an agency set up by the European Commission’s Internal Market and Services Directorate General to tackle intellectual property rights issues. The EFJ, among other industry stakeholders, is a member association of the IAMO since April 2013. The next meeting will be held in February 2014.

Regulating User-Generated Content Online?

(19.09.2013) As part of an ongoing dialogue initiated by the European Commission under the framework of Licence for Europe, the EFJ has contributed to a working group which aims to find ways to address the issue of user-generated content (UGC) online.

However, before stakeholders can come up with practical solutions to address the issue, the challenge to define UGC still remains. Several authors’ organisations took the floor to highlight moral rights concerns when works are used in UGC.

The EFJ also pointed at photographers’ metadata being removed and the need to continue discussions on the issue of authenticating photographic works.

Contact: Pamela Morinière

Audiovisual Sector Holds Conference to Address Gender Equality

Following the adoption of a framework of action on gender equality by social partners in the audiovisual sector last year, a conference will be organised on 25 November in Brussels to publicise the framework and address gender equality in the audiovisual sector. The EFJ will be among the social partners to organise the conference which focuses on access to decision-making positions, equal pay, gender roles, work-life balance, and gender portrayal.

The conference is funded by the European Commission.  Representatives of both media workers’ and employers’ organisations will join the meeting. Martine Simonis from the Belgian Association of Professional Journalists (AJP) will present its work on raising awareness of gender portrayal in the newsrooms.

Contact: Pamela Morinière

 Media Awards

British Journalism Awards Deadline: 14 October 2013 (More)

European Press Prize Deadline: 29 November 2013 (More)

Call for Interest to Host EFJ General Meeting 2014

Are you interested in hosting the next EFJ General Meeting for May 2014? If so, contact us now! Deadline is 1 November

Call for Proposals

The European Commission is calling for proposals to create a European Centre for Press and Media Freedom. Deadline: 15 October (Read more)


4 - 6 October

4 - 6 October (Brussels)

7 - 8 October (Sarajevo)

7 October

10 October (Brussels)

11 October (Brussels)

15 -17 October (Brussels)
Ethics and Journalism Practices Encounter, follow our discussion on Twitter #mediane_gr 

Training Course on Digital Tools for Environmental Reporting

VII South East Europe Media Forum

World Day for Decent Work

European Trade Union Congress Women Committee meeting

Authors' Rights Expert Group meeting

European Youth Media Days
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Renate Schroeder, Marc Gruber & Yuk Lan Wong