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29 November 2013

Safety and Press Freedom at Top of European Agenda

On 8 November, European Cultural Ministers in the Council of Europe (CoE) have unanimously adopted a resolution on the safety of journalists. During the Ministerial conference, they were alarmed by the severe situation, where journalists in parts of Europe are facing various forms of violence and death at times.
Based on the declaration and the resolution, it has become clear that the 47 CoE countries should take the responsibility to introduce guidelines for the protection of independent journalism and the safety of journalists. Member States should followed the resolution adopted and investigate urgent cases where violation occurs.
As I had the honour to participate the Ministerial conference, I have addressed among other issues the situation in Turkey, where 62 journalists are currently in jail. Among those, four journalists were recently sentenced to life imprisonment with 3000-year jail sentences for doing their jobs. A number of participants were shocked to learn about the situation faced by journalists in Turkey. I have urged them to provide arguments to their governments to put pressure on the Turkish authorities.

We as journalist unions must continue to put our pressure on the Turkish government. We must cooperate with other human rights organisations and use possible platforms to expose the attack on press freedom in Turkey. On 18 November, I took the opportunity to address the situation in Turkey in a conference organised by the International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organisation in Istanbul.
On 21 – 23 November, 40 union delegates from 11 EFJ affiliates gathered in Kiev discussing labour rights, press freedom, safety of journalists and ways to strengthen the capacity of our affiliates in Eastern Europe and the Post-Soviet area. The safety of journalists is again at the top of the priorities.
Jailing journalists in Turkey, beating journalists in Ukraine, killing journalists in Russia, more countries could unfortunately be named for such crimes against journalists. But the fact is no real investigation of the violence against media workers is carried out. Our tasks as unions throughout Europe are to demand our respective governments and parliamentarians to take their responsibilities for creating a safe environment for journalists.

Mogens Blicher Bjerregård

EFJ Launches New Logo


The EFJ has launched a new logo strengthening its identity as the voice of journalists in Europe. The logo adopted by the EFJ Steering Committee is evolved from the logo of its intentional group – the International Federation of Journalists. The new logo is a further step for the EFJ to strengthen its independent status and be recognised by European and international institutions as the credible voice for journalists in Europe.

‘‘Having the new logo is an important step to strengthen our position, but the EFJ can only be strong by standing up for the rights of journalists. And we will continue our work to defend journalists.’’ said Ricardo Gutiérrez.

You can download the new EFJ logo here in high resolution.


Petition for Justice for Journalists in Turkey

(11.10.2013) Following the shocking decision of life sentences given to four journalists by the court in Turkey on 2 November, the EFJ has launched an online petition protesting against the court decision and calling for the release of imprisoned journalists in Turkey. We need your support to reach 10,000 signatures. Please click the 'Petition Now' button below to sign. Please spread the word; a signature means thousand words.
Interview: Turkey Remains Europe's Largest Prison for Journalists

On 8 November, the EFJ together with its Belgian affiliate, AJP, organised a demonstration in Brussels calling for the release of imprisoned journalists in Turkey. In a recent media reportfeaturing EFJ General Secretary, Ricardo Gutiérrez The EFJ has also written to EU Commissioner Stefan Füle responsible for EU enlargement, calling for his effort to pressure the Turkish government on the press freedom situation in Turkey. In the coming months, the EFJ will kick off a two-year long project supported by the European Commission campaigning for the freedom of journalists and press freedom in Turkey.

Up Coming Trials
2 December 2013
12 December 2013
12 December 2013

KCK trial, Istanbul
OdaTV trial,  EFJ observer Barry White
KCK trial in Istanbul

EFJ Visits Journalist Tomislav Kezarovski under House Arrest

(28.11.2013) Ricardo Gutiérrez, EFJ General Secretary has met with the Macedonian investigative journalist Tomislav Kezarovski who is currently under house arrest in Skopje. Gutiérrez spoke with Kezarovski and told him that the EFJ and its affiliates in Macedonia (AJM and SSNM) will continue the fight for his freedom.
Gutiérrez has also met with Fatmir Besimi, Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs, and Ivo Ivanovski, Minister of Information Society to discuss further support on Kezarovski’s case and the controversial draft media law.

You can watch the interivew of Gutiérrez here.

Promoting a Culture of Safety, Rights and Independent Standards for Journalists

Silent march against impunity on the streets of Kyiv (c) Marc Gruber

(23.11.2013) Representatives from IFJ/EFJ member unions in the Balkan, Turkey and former Soviet Union met in Kyiv to discuss ways to promote a culture of safety, rights and independent standards for journalists in a seminar.

During the occasion, the IFJ affiliates in Ukraine (IMTUU and NUJU) formally announced their application for the EFJ membership.

The first day seminar concluded with a joint panel of the EFJ leadership, President Mogens Bjerregård, Vice-President Nadezda Azhgikhina and Steering Committee member Agniezka Romaszewska-Guzy on the EFJ’s vision, mission and strategy for Eastern Europe. The second day, 23 November the unions marked the International Day to End Impunity with a silent march through the streets of Kyiv. (read more)

Public Broadcaster Canal 9 Shut Down

(07.11.2013) The EFJ has called for the immediate re-opening of the public broadcaster, RTVV, in Valencia, following its sudden shut down on Tuesday 5 November. RTVV is a public broadcaster owned by the Valencia government. For years, journalists working for Canal 9/RTVV have protested against the ownership due to political pressures. On 18 November, members of the EFJ Broadcasting Expert Group have sent a solidarity message to journalists at RTVV (Watch the video below). (read more)

Violent Police Raid on ERT

(07.11.2013) The EFJ and IFJ have strongly condemned a violent raid by Greek police on the main headquarters of Greece's national broadcaster ERT in Athens. The Greek riot police, accompanied by a public prosecutor, entered the ERT building in the Agia Paraskevi area, asking employees to leave the premises.

On 18 November, the EFJ affiliates in Greece have met with the President of the European Broadcasting Union, Jean-Paul Philippot, in Brussels regarding the future of ERT. Nicholas Tsimpidas, the ERT journalist attended the meeting and recorded a message (watch the video below) to the journalist community for their support and solidarity with ERT journalists. (read more)


Journalists to Receive Salary Rise

(25.11.2013) The EFJ affiliates DJV and dju in ver.di have successfully secured 3.9% salary increase for around 9.000 journalists working in the magazine sector for the period until 2016. The agreement also promised the negotiation for next year on (general working and) employment conditions for journalists working in the magazine sector, including the unions' demand to integrate online journalists into the collective agreement. (read more in German)

EFJ Expert Groups Set Priorities and Working Methods for Next Year

(18.11.2013) The Labour Rights (LAREG) and Freelance Expert Group (FREG) had a joint meeting to discuss cooperation on issues of common concern. The groups proposed to use the EFJ Manifesto on Social protection for freelances, as a reference tool used for the upcoming European Parliament elections in May 2014. They have also discussed lobbying strategies for new composition of the European Commission. In future, both groups meet regularly whenever the agenda allows.
During the meeting, LAREG has elected its chair former EFJ Vice-President Philippe Leruth from Belgium. FREG has elected co-chairs John Toner (NUJ, UK) and Judith Reitstätter (dju-GPA, Austria).  There are several new members to the Expert Groups.
The Broadcasting Expert Group met on the following day and re-elected John Barsby (NUJ, UK) as its chair. The group agreed that merger of newsrooms and restructuring of public broadcaster is a priority on the agenda.
All groups will use more webinars in the future as an addition to physical meetings. The composition and working method of the groups will be discussed and approved by the Steering Committee at its upcoming meeting on 5 December.

EFJ to Launch Project Confronting Austerity in Journalism

(06.12.2013) The EFJ will kick off a new project with the support of the European Commission aiming to share unions' best practices and find new ways in  confronting the austerity measures and financing journalism. In a preparatory meeting on 6 December, the advisory group to the project will plan its activities including a survey on best practices and a seminar focusing on managing change, finding new business models and promoting social dialogue in journalism. The seminar will take place in Vienna on 20-21 March 2014.
Contact: Renate Schroeder

Baltic News Service Raided by Special Investigation Services

(12.11.2013) The Lithuanian Special Investigation Services (SIS) has raided the Baltic News Service (BNS) office in Vilnius accusing the news agency of having illegally obtained a leaked document that shows evidence of a smear campaign against the President of Lithuania, Dalia Grybauskaite. During the raid, six journalists were questioned. The BNS editor's home was also raided and searched. The EFJ has condemned the raid and criticised the SIS for violating the journalists’ rights to protect confidential sources. (read more)

Press Crisis in Europe

(13.11.2013) The ‘Press Crisis in Europe’ has become a subject of debate among European policy makers and media representatives at a conference organised by the Liberals and Democrats Party of the European Parliament and the MEDIA Intergroup. Participants discussed about the future financing model in the media while the EFJ pointed out the impact of declining working conditions and quality in the media. Publishers’ organisations raised the issue of media branding, merging newsrooms and the use of new technologies. (You can catch up the debate here)

EFJ Calls for Journalistic Exemption in EU Privacy Law 

(14.11.2013) Following the adoption of the amendment  to the data protection proposal by the European Parliament, the EFJ and representatives of media organisations (ENPA, EMMA and EPC) have made an appeal to Members of the European Parliament (MEP) and the Council of Ministers for maintaining the exemption to process data for journalistic purposes. The European Parliament will vote on the final text in April 2014. The EFJ and its German affiliates will  meet in January 2014  with the rapporteur of the proposal, MEP Jan Philippe Albrecht, who is leading the negotiation with the Council. (read more)

EU Benchmark Regulation Hampers Media Freedom

(25.11.2013) The EFJ together with European bodies representing media organisations (i.e.  ENPA, EMMA and EPC) have criticised the legislative proposal to regulate market benchmarks as a threat to media freedom. The group pointed out that the wide definition of benchmarks will consider data used in financial reporting by journalists as benchmarks and therefore they will be subject to regulation and scrutiny.

The proposal as it currently stands without making a journalistic exemption explicit, will compromise the obligation to protect journalistic sources. The group has called on the European Commission and the European Parliament to support its amendments to introduce a journalistic exemption in the proposal.

European Conference on Media Freedom in Enlargement Countries

(7-8.11.2013) The EFJ/IFJ members in Serbia, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro took part in a conference organised by the European Commission on supporting journalists’ unions and civil society organistions to improve press freedom and working conditions in the region.

During the workshops, participants discussed among others, ways to strengthen the capacity of journalists’ organisations in the region. The Commission has circulated draft guidelines to support media freedom and media integrity in the enlargement region for the period 2014-2020. The EFJ and its affiliates in the region will respond by 16 December. The Commission will also develop a long term policy approach for EU financial assistance on freedom of expression issues in the region. (read more)

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German Court Grants Victory to Translators on Fair Compensation Case

(28.11.2013) The Federal High Court in Germany has granted victory to the translators who have accused the publisher for not having paid them adequately. The judge has granted the author - in this case translator - the right to claim additional payment in case of inadequate payment.  Under the provision of German copyright contract law (section 32), authors have the right to claim fair payment for their works if the payment they received is deemed inadequate. The EFJ affiliates, DJV and dju in ver.di, have welcomed the decision and said that it will strengthen the position of freelance journalists in future (read more in German).

US Court Grants $1.2 Damage to Photographer in Copyright Dispute

(22.11. 2013) The EFJ/IFJ has welcomed a court decision in the US to award Haitian photographer Daniel Morel a large amount of damages for violation of his authors' rights in photographs by Agence France Press (AFP) and Getty Images. The jury decision grants Morel $1.2 million damages for infringement of his authors' rights on eight pictures. It decided that AFP and Getty had intentionally infringed Morel's rights as well as the US Digital Millennium Act, granting Morel additional damages for this.(read more)

Parliament Committee Adopts Proposal on Collective Rights Management

(19.11.2013) The Legal Affairs Committee of the European Parliament has unanimously adopted the revised text for the Collective Rights Management Directive which will regulate collecting societies in Europe.  MEP Marielle Gallo, rapporteur of the text, highlighted that the Directive will “reinforce the digital single market” and will “help protecting artists and cultural diversity and restoring the image of Collective Management Organisations”. However, the current text remains ambiguous as to the exclusion of unions from the scope of the directive. (read more)


Global Campaign to End violence against Women Journalists

(26.11.2013) The IFJ has launched a global  campaign to denounce violence against women journalists and alert public authorities on their need to end impunity for  these crimes. The campaign is a response to the numerous cases of women journalists being threatened, attacked, harassed, raped or even killed in the course of their profession. (read more)

Promoting Gender Equality in the Audiovisual Sector

(25.11.2013) EU social partners in the audio-visual sector organised a conference on ‘‘Promoting Gender Equality in the Audiovisual Sector’’ in Brussels.

The conference is the result of the ongoing EU social dialogue in the audiovisual sector on gender. Discussions looked into best practices achieved in the sector and addressed current initiatives such as the work life balance project ran by European federations in the sector.


3 - 5 December







Council of Europe Media Expert meeting, Strasburg

Meeting with EU Commissioner for Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes, Brussels

EFJ Steering Committee meeting, Brussels

Preparatory meeting on project 'Confronting austerity in journalism', Brussels

OdaTV trial

Memorial day for killed journalists, Russian Union of Journalists, Moscow

Institute of European Democrats Conference on Media Pluralism, European Parliament, Brussels

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Renate Schroeder, Marc Gruber & Yuk Lan Wong