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This year’s EFJ General Meeting will take place in Verviers (Belgium) on 13-15 May. Under the title “Servicing journalists’ unions in times of crisis: campaigning for journalism as a public good”, EFJ affiliates will discuss strategies to confront the crisis in journalism.
With our own statutes and legal entity as an IFJ regional group, the EFJ aims to seek new ways to strengthen its voice in Brussels, Strasbourg and throughout Europe. The meeting will elect the new EFJ Steering Committee, President and Vice-President, for the next three years. The IFJ Congress will take place a few weeks later on the 4-7 June in Dublin.
For more information on the General Meeting, please visit the EFJ Website.


Have you signed it?

European Initiative for Media Pluralism

In the last issue we reported about the first European Citizens' Initiative targeting media freedom and pluralism.

It was officially launched on 7 February and the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz and many others have already signed it. Have you?

Sign up now and spread the word today.

You can download the banner or promote it on facebook. Want to be part of the initiative? Find out more HERE.

EU Counter Summit

Two European days of action will take place around the European Council Summit in March.
The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) has called for national protests on 13 March and a European rally in Brussels on 14 March (from 14:00 to 17:00) against austerity measures. The protest and rally will focus on youth employment, inequalities and the impact of austerity measures (read more).
Meanwhile, several non-government organisations have called for a "European Spring" against attacks on welfare, social rights and democracy as a result of the austerity measures, with actions also targeting the 14th March EU summit.
Join the day of action, organise your national protest, rally or organise a press conference.

Crunch-time on future of UK press regulation

What is the state of play in the press regulation reform since the phone-hacking scandal in the UK? Will the proposed self-regulatory body backed up by a statute be effective to enforce media ethics? Is the guarantee of a conscience clause enough to enable editorial independence? What’s missing in the Leveson report?

In this feature article, Barry White, member of the EFJ Steering Committee from the National Union of Journalists highlighted the pros and cons of the proposals in the Leveson report. 

“Questions about cutting big meeting down to size, by putting limits on ownership have been sidelined. So has discussion about some NUJ concerns about protection of sources…” By Barry White (Read more)

NUJ strike over job cuts and future of the BBC


The NUJ called BBC journalists out on strike on Monday 18 February to protest against compulsory redundancies and cuts across the BBC. 2.000 jobs are expected to be lost over five years as the BBC seeks to cut 20% of its costs by 2017.

The BBC news output was seriously disrupted as NUJ members joined picket lines across the country over the fate of 30 staff facing compulsory redundancy despite vacancies elsewhere in the corporation. The redundancies particularly affect BBC Scotland, Newsbeat, Five Live, Asian Network and the World Service. Strikers are calling on the new BBC Director General, Tony Hall, to put a moratorium on the cuts. (Read more)

For more information about the NUJ's Fight for Our BBC campaign, click here.  

Photographers organised solidarity campaign for imprisoned journalists

The London Photographers’ branch of the National Union of Journalists organised a solidarity campaign to support imprisoned journalists in Turkey. During the branch’s annual general meeting, over thirty photographers were shown the interview of the recently released Turkish journalist Baris Terkoglu and his account of the situation of media freedom in Turkey. As a part of the solidarity campaign, an international report on violence against and the imprisonment of media workers will be produced by the branch. Larry Herman, Secretary of the branch said that they will continue informing members of the worldwide violence used to suppress journalists from reporting. (watch the interview)

If you want to help set journalists free in Turkey, you can also organise a solidarity campaign or discuss this in your branch meeting. Get in touch with us if you want more campaign materials.


Turkish journalists faced "shocking" charges

The EFJ President Arne König and the President of the Turkish Union of Journalists (TGS), Ercan Ipekci attended the trial of 46 journalists and media workers on 4 February. The journalists are accused of being members, or working on behalf of KCK, the so-called "city organisation" of the illegal and armed Kurdish Workers Party (PKK). For a longer account of the visit by EFJ President Arne König, read the detailed report here.

Do you know your rights? The EFJ Freelance Charter

Freelance journalists share the same professional rights as employed journalists. Back in 2003 the EFJ adopted a Freelance Charter. In a webinar organised by the EFJ Freelance Expert Group in cooperation with the Deutscher Journalisten Verband (DJV), participants discussed strategies and campaigns to better protect and enforce these rights defined in 7 paragraphs in the Freelance Charter. If you missed the webinar, you can catch up here

Meanwhile, being a freelance journalist in Finland is becoming easier as the recent change in employment law provide them with greater social security. (Read more)

Commission proposed controversial plan to beef up media councils

The EFJ criticised controversial proposals by the European Commission to beef up media councils in a letter sent to the EU Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes. The EFJ President Arne König criticised that the proposal to grant more power to media councils to impose fines on journalists and media organisations could threaten press freedom. The EFJ also questioned the proposal to “monitor” media councils by the Commission. (Read the full recommendation here)

Unions condemned new attack on protection of sources

Journalists unions (DJV and dju in ver.di) in Germany fiercely condemned the police for recent raids at the apartments of several freelance photographers. The unions accused the police of violating the law on protection of journalistic sources and media freedom. They accused the police of using disproportionate measures to obtain evidence from the photographers’ computers for a case related to a demonstration last year. The unions demanded the police to return all confiscated materials immediately. (Read more in German on the DJV and dju in ver.di websites.)

Free speech threatened by killing attempt

Lars Hedegaard, the editor-in-chief of "Dispatch International", an online news portal, and President of Denmark's "Free Press Society", escaped a murder attempt by a man pretending to deliver a package to his house. Mogens Blicher-Bjerregaard, President of the Danish union of journalists condemned the attack saying that it was an attack on freedom of speech in Denmark. (Read more)

Journalists published satirical apology to political leader

Macedonian journalists have hit back against the country’s political leaders with a satirical ‘collective apology’ after critical articles of the Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski and parliament speaker Trajko Veljanovski. The letter said the journalists apologised “for not doing their work in accordance with politicians’ needs, and for future mistakes, whether intentionally or not”. (Read more)

Good news on collective agreement

On 11 February, the Romanian Ministry of Labour confirmed with the EFJ affiliate, the Romanian Federation of Journalists (MediaSind), the renewal of the collective agreement which will be valid until 14.01.2014. The agreement, including a conscience clause and the Journalists' Code of Ethics, was hailed as "a great victory" by the President of MediaSind, Cristi Godinac. However, the victory was overshadowed by the European Commission's call on Romanian media to refrain from putting “undue pressure” on public institutions in Romania. (Contact MediaSind)

Unions against change of audiovisual law

Spanish trade unions, including the EFJ affiliates Confederación Sindical de Comisiones Obreras (CC.OO) and the Federation of Unions of Journalists (FAPE), took to the streets of Madrid to protest against new plans to change the audiovisual law. They warned that the new legislation will open doors for private news corporations to buy public broadcasting stations and lay off staff. (Read more in Spanish)

NUJ protested against debt burden

Leading journalists from the print, electronic and online media helped make the news rather than reporting in a nation-wide protest in Ireland on 9 February . Over 100,000 citizens took part in the protest against the country's continued bank debt burden. The protest was organised by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU). National Union of Journalists' members were also out in force at the Dublin rally, led by Irish Executive Council Chairman Gerry Curran and Irish Secretary Séamus Dooley.  (Read more)

Google struck deal with publisher behind journalists

The French affiliates SNJ and SNJ-CGT criticised the deal struck between newspaper publishers and Google saying that the agreement was signed behind the journalists back. The SNJ-CGT said the creation of a 60 million euro fund for digital innovation is a “trap” and that authors are still deprived of their legitimate rights to claim fair payment. According to the French copyright act, journalists are entitled to claim payment from revenues generated from their works by third parties (i.e. Google in this case).  Read more in French at SNJ and SNJ-CGT websites.


EFJ joined licence for Europe stakeholders dialogue

The European Commission has launched an initiative called “Licence for Europe” aiming to bring together stakeholders in the creative and cultural sector to find a practical solution to remove barriers to access copyright protected materials online. Stakeholders, including the EFJ, had its first meeting to discuss the main issues at stake. (Read more)


Commission mediator called for Copyright Reform to guarantee fair play for authors

The EFJ welcomed the call by Antonio Vitorino, the European Commission's mediator on copyright contract law reform, for a fair share of licence revenues for journalists and other creators. Vitorino, the mediator appointed by the European Commission to review private copying and reprography levies, has recommended the introduction of mandatory rules in copyright contract law or labour law to ensure authors and performers receive an adequate share of income generated from their works. He further pointed out that authors and performers suffer from a lack of bargaining power and there is a need to improve the situation. (Read more)


In 2012 the EFJ and EURO-MEI carried out a joint project on mapping changes in employment in the media and journalism industry. The project assessed the impact of employment changes in the media and journalism industry on journalists and media workers. The final survey and the summary with recommendations are available here.

Digital training for journalists

If you want to improve your digital skills, you can now apply for the Media Hackers project to learn the latest technological skills to help improve your reporting. The training opportunity is open for all journalists and will take place in Cyprus, Germany, Greece, and Romania.
4 March Brussels

5 March Brussels
Labour Rights Expert Group Meeting
Freelance Expert Group Meeting

EFJ Steering Committee Meeting
Audiovisual Social Dialogue
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Renate Schroeder, Marc Gruber & Yuk Lan Wong