As the year comes to an end, we have witnessed many ups and downs in media development. There will be challenges for us in the coming year – fighting for media freedom, quality journalism and better working conditions for journalists. But there are also hopes.
Carrying on the positive spirit from this year, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) will continue our fight for journalists. Our focus for the coming year will be:
Safety for journalists
2016 is a record year for the number of jailed journalists in Europe. Over 120 journalists were put behind bars in Turkey. We will develop ever-closer cooperation with the Council of Europe and partners of the platform to protect journalists to ensure commitment from national governments to respect journalists.
Building stronger unions through better recruitment and organising
The EFJ project “Rights & Jobs in Journalism” concluded this year provided new tools and inspiration to our members with strategies on recruitment and organising. Network and collaboration have been built among members to exchange best practices to defend journalists’ rights. I hope the coming year will be a year of more members and stronger unions.
Improving working conditions through better legislation
All journalists regardless of their employment status shall have the equal rights and treatments. This year, we have achieved momentum together with other trade unions in the culture and media sector in lobbying European institutions to better EU legislation in order to protect freelances (or atypical workers).
Ensuring media pluralism through collaboration
The EFJ should take the lead to unite public service media and private media in a common approach to ensure pluralism in Europe instead of leaving the media market to global players. Only through dialogue, we can find the balance between public service media, private media, the innovative newcomers and global players.
Expanding our network of partners
Our network of partners has increased significantly through our active involvement and increased visibility in EU institutions, inter-government organisations, media stakeholders, and other trade unions. This will surely help influence policy-making in the media especially on EU copyright which will be crucial for journalists.
2017 will be a challenging year. But with what we have achieved this year and the positive spirit we will carry on, the EFJ together with our members can make a difference for our journalists.
(12.12.2016) The journalist Edouard Perrin and the two whistleblowers, Raphaël Halet and Antoine Deltour returned to court on 12 December for appeal in the so-called LuxLeaks scandal. The European and International Federations of Journalists strongly supported the three accused. General Secretary Ricardo Gutiérrez and Dominique Pradalié (IFJ, SNJ) were present at the hearings to denounce the "hypocrisy" of the situation and their "disgust" regarding the government and the justice of Luxembourg. Two more hearings will take place on 4 and 9 January 2017.
(18.12.2016) Several thousands of people have protested on 16, 17 and 18 December in Warsaw, Poland, over the government’s plans to impose restrictions on media coverage of parliament. The rules proposed by the head office of the Sejm, the lower house of parliament, will ban all recording of parliamentary sessions. Only five selected Polish TV stations will be allowed to record or broadcast parliamentary sessions. In September, EFJ affiliate in Poland, the Polish Journalists Association (SDP) had issued an appeal calling the Speakers of Sejm and Senate to not implement the restrictions for media in Polish parliament. The SDP announced its readyness to take part in any mediations and negotiations leading to such a regulations of media presence in parliament, that will respect the media and citizens’ rights to information.
(01.12.2016) The regional meeting of EFJ-IFJ affiliates from the Balkans and Eastern Europe successfully took place in Istanbul on 29-30 November 2016. The gathering of more than 10 international journalists representatives showing solidarity under the state of emergency with so many journalists in jail (over 120), under prosecution (thousands), without job (over 10.000) was warmly welcomed by the colleagues and local media. Click here to read the conclusions adopted at the end of the conference.
(21.12.2016) The European Federation of Journalists launched together with partners ARTICLE 19, Media Diversity Institute (MDI), Croatian Journalists’ Association (CJA), Cooperazione per lo Sviluppo dei Paesi Emergenti (COSPE), Community Media Institute (COMMIT), Community Media Forum Europe (CMFE) a Europe-wide campaign Media Against Hate, to counter hate speech and discrimation in the media.
A website www.mediaagainsthate.org will gather the latest news related to ethical standards, freedom of expression, media diversity and resources for media professionals and civil society organisations (CSO) to fight against hate in the media.
A series of trainings and workshops will be organised for media professionals, representatives of CSOs and media regulators across Europe to exchange best practices and promote mutual learning and cooperation activities. In addition, a video contest will be launched in January as part of the campaign to collect a diverse range of best practices with counter-narratives fighting stereotypes and discrimination in the media. For more information and regular updates, please visit the website and use the hashtag #MediaAgainstHate on Twitter.
(21.12.2016) Journalists from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro and Turkey attended on 19/12/2016 in Tirana (Albania) the training of trainers’ workshop for Labour Rights Expert Group (LAREG+) in the framework of its Unesco supported project called Building Trust in media in South East Europe and Turkey (#TrustinMediaSEE). Tim Dawson (NUJ President, UK) acted as expert during this event and gave the course based on his long serving experience as trade unionist in the United Kingdom Read the 15 points to improve working conditions for journalists in the region.
In the course of November and December, the EFJ secretariat welcomed journalists from the Turkish news agency Anadolu, affiliates from the Balkans and Denmark, as well as Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muiznieks, who came to reiterate his commitment on media freedom for the upcoming year 2017. It is always a pleasure to meet you in person, so if you happen to be in Brussels, don't hesitate to pop in to see us at the headquarters!
Digital Expert Group met in Brussels
(29.09.2016) The EFJ Digital Expert Group (DEG) met on 14 November in Brussels. The group decided to focus its working program on two challenges: how to reach out to new members in digital newsrooms (unionizing digital media) and how to regulate the use of robots doing journalistic work? The group had a discussion with professor David Domino (ULB) on the challenges of digitization in the media sector: the raise of hate speech and fake news, the need to engage the audience, the need to promote co-decision in the digital newsrooms….
Directive proposal on copyright in the digital single market
The EFJ has started lobbying members of the European parliament together with the « authors’ group » (informal group gathering european organisations representing journalists, screenwriters, film directors, music composers and writers) to strengthen the transparency obligations proposals to make publishers and broadcasters accountable for the exploitation of journalistic and other authors’ works.The EFJ is also organising its own lobbying activities with respect to other items in the directive that are key for journalists. EFJ statement on the directive is available on request: email@example.com
On 6 December, the EFJ had a very open and fruitful discussion with Rebecca Harms, co-chair of the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance about the future of journalism, and in particular the recently adopted resolution on the EU strategic communication to counteract anti-EU propaganda by third parties. Propaganda pressure on the EU from Russia and Islamist terrorist groups is growing, the European Parliament warned in a non-legislative resolution voted on 23 November. To counteract so-called anti-EU campaigns, MEPs suggested reinforcing the EU’s “strategic communication” task force and investing more in awareness raising, media literacy, online and local media as well as investigative journalism. The resolution calls on EU member states to boost funding for counter-propaganda projects. The EFJ thanked Rebecca Harms for having substantially improved an original very harmful draft resolution written by Polish rapporteur Anna Elżbieta Fotygais, European Conservatives and Reformists Group. The meeting discussed how best to fight fake news and propaganda media, how to support investigative journalism and fight the commercialisation of the media. The EFJ and Rebecca Harm’s office will continue to work on these issues together.
The EFJ also met MEP Julie Wards and MEP Mairead McGuinness.
Public consultation on the European Pillar of Social Right
The EFJ is responding to the Public consultation on the European Pillar of Social Rights. The outcome of this debate should feed into a final text of the European Pillar of Social Rights. The EFJ stresses in its response the need for social protection for all workers independent of their employment contract. Collective rights, social dialogue, fight against competition authorities, respect for ILO standards and an extension beyond the Eurozone are main aspects. The European Commission is organising a seminar on the social pillar on 23 January, to which the EFJ is invited.
The Steering Committee of the EFJ agreed on Friday to hold the next Annual Meeting on 18-19 May, 2017 in Athens, Greece. The AM will be organised by the Panhellenic Federation of Journalists’ Union (PFJU/POESY). We will come back to you soon with practical details. Please save the date!