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We will meet the challenges

Journalists are at a double crossroad in Europe. Media as we have known for decades is in crisis and our labour market is changing rapidly.

The media landscape has changed and will keep changing. We have to face the reality and work for better working conditions for journalists, including freelances and employed staff. This also means organising journalists from every branch of the media.

In order to rise to the challenge, we must position ourselves at the forefront  of development and seek to influence media policy-making processes.We must urge our governments and the European institutions to create the best environment for a pluralistic media. Our politicians must understand that sustainability is essential to ensure media pluralism which is the cornerstone for democracy.

Sustainability also means a healthy labour market with space for innovation. To do so, employers must value their staff and freelances who contribute to the development of the company. As journalists’ unions, we should be prepared for changes in order to address both innovation and flexibility in the media and working conditions.

Together we should meet these challenges to create a better future for journalism, with more jobs and higher quality journalism. But this requires cooperation among all parties in the media to provide, among others,better education and mid-career trainings for journalists. As journalists our duty remains to improve our skills in order to do our best job.

Mogens Blicher Bjerregård
EFJ President

Highlights of EFJ General Meeting 2013

New EFJ Steering Committee: (from the left) Urs Thalmann, Paco Audije, Daniela Stigliano, Nadezda Azhgikhina (Vice-President), Mogens Blicher BjerregÃ¥rd (President), Andreas Bittner (Treasurer), Yannis Kotsifos, Barry White and Agnieskza Romaszewska (not in the picture)            © Marc Gruber. EFJ

EFJ elects new board 

(13.5.2013) At its General Meeting in Verviers, Belgium, EFJ elected a new board, including a new President and Vice-President. Elected as President is Mogens Blicher BjerregÃ¥rd, from the Danish Union of Journalists (Dansk Journalistforbund) and as Vice-President Nadezda Azhgikhina, from the Russian Union of Journalists. BjerregÃ¥rd thanked the outgoing President Arne König (SJF, Sweden) and Vice-President Philippe Leruth (AGJPB, Belgium), who had held the positions for nine years.

Elected members of the Steering Committee are Andreas Bittner (DJV, Germany), who was re-appointed as Honorary Treasurer, Paco Audije (FAPE/FeSP, Spain), Yannis Kotsifos (ESIEMTH, Greece), Daniela Stigliano (FNSI, Italy), Agnieskza Romaszewska (SDP, Poland), Urs Thalmann (impressum, Switzerland), and Barry White (NUJ, Great Britain).

The General Meeting was attended by delegates from 29 countries representing over 320.000 journalists in Europe. The meeting adopted a set of 21 resolutions and several statements on ongoing issues such as the crisis in Cyprus and missing journalists in Syria. (Read more)
Audience stood up and applauded the outgoing President Arne König and Vice-President Philippe Leruth.                                                                                                     © Marc Gruber. EFJ

‘To those beyond the wall’

''Although we have never met because of the wall that separates between us, I want to say to you, who see the world with the same passion and responsibility as I, a warm ‘Hello’...your existence is the greatest support for us.’’

These are the words from the imprisoned journalist, Ömer Celik, who wrote a letter to dju in ver.di showing his gratitude for the support he received from colleagues in Germany. In his letter, Celik remained hopeful for press freedom in Turkey. (Read the letter in German).

Continuing the support, representatives from the journalists' unions in Denmark (Esben Ørberg), the UK (Barry White) and France (Patrick Kamenka) will attend the court hearings of imprisoned journalist in the following two weeks in Istanbul, Turkey.

EFJ delegates to meet at IFJ Congress

Over 100 delegates from EFJ affiliates in Europe will be attending the IFJ Congress from 4 to 7 June in Dublin, Ireland. The IFJ congress will elect a new leadership to lead the organisation for the coming three years. A regional meeting with delegates from Europe will be held during the congress on Thursday. The EFJ will also hold its first Steering Committee meeting with the newly elected board. For more information about the IFJ Congress, please visit HERE.

Journalist’s archives destroyed

(30.5.2013) The French newspaper, Le Monde, was reported to  have destroyed the archives of Daniel Mordzinski, the photographer working for Spanish newspaper El Pais in Paris. The archive includes a 27-year history of Spanish literature, especially those on Latin American, as well as several Nobel prizes. (Read more)

EFJ condemns police intimidations against journalists

In a letter addressed to the Chief of Staff of the Hellenic Police, Lieutnant General Nikolaos Papagiannopoulos, the EFJ has condemned a series of police intimidations against journalists. Following repeated incidents of intimidation and uses of excessive force against journalists, the EFJ demanded that the police end harassment against journalists and respect editorial independence. (Read more)

New agreement reached for freelance and online journalists

Over 90% of journalists at the Austrian union GPA-DJP have voted in favour of a new collective agreement to extend the benefits for freelance and online journalists. The new agreement will cover freelance journalists by the same collective agreement and on the same conditions as employed journalists. For the first time, journalists working for online media are also covered. However, journalists will have to forfeit the end-of-year bonus. An online system to monitor fair working conditions will be implemented to ensure the agreement is being enforced. The new agreement will come into force on 1 July 2013.  (Read more in German)

Parliament adopts key report on media

(21.5.2013) The European Parliament adopted, by a majority vote, a report proposed by parliamentarian Ms. Renate Weber, of the liberal party (ALDE), to tackle the  issue of safety and working conditions of journalists, as well as a range of issues related to media concentration, protection of sources and conflict of interests of media owners. The EFJ particularly welcomed the recognition of the need to improve the working conditions of journalists in an official EU document. The report proposed to set up a European monitoring system on media freedom and a study on the effect of precarious employment in media. (Read more)

EFJ pushes for journalistic exemption in data protection law

The EFJ has written to the Council of Ministers pushing for an exemption for journalists processing data in the EU data protection law revision.  The EFJ said that the current proposals remove the journalistic exceptions that provide legal certainties to guarantee editorial independence and free access to information. The EFJ warned that the removal of the clause would seriously impact on press freedom in Europe, leading to self-censorship by journalists and media organisations.

The Council and the European Parliament will meet again in June to discuss the draft proposal. The EFJ steering committee will meet in Dublin on 4 – 7 June to discuss strategies to push for the exemption in the draft law (Read more)

The IFJ gender council to hold meeting in Dublin

(30.5.2013) Members of the gender council will meet on 3 June before the IFJ Congress and elect the new board. The council will adapt a new action plan and discuss future gender strategies for the IFJ. (Read more)

IFJ marks central role of gender at world congress with special exhibition

To mark the central role of Gender at this year's World Congress, the IFJ has created a digital Gender Exhibition. The exhibition, which was put together by members of the IFJ gender council, features a range of pictures from across the world, most of which have been taken by women. It conveys a positive message that women can play a determinant role in trade unions and the economy, whether in front of or behind the camera. Click here to view.

Over a Third of Euro Journalists’ Union’s Members and Leaders are Women, says IFJ/EFJ Study

Download the study now.

Safety: Who killed Gilles Jacquier?

The recent death of French journalist Gilles Jacquier in Syria has raised a series of debates over the safety of journalists reporting on the frontline.  Patrick Vallélian, a journalist and member of the Swiss affiliate, Impressum, gave his vivid account of the danger facing frontline journalists in Syria where he worked together with Jacquier the night before he was killed. In his new book ‘Who killed Gilles Jacquier?’ Vallélian, together with co-authors Caroline Poiron and Sid Ahmed Hammouche, will reveal the truth of the death of Jacquier. The book is available in French. (Read more)

EFJ voices journalists' concerns over user generated content

(30.5.2013) The EFJ participated in the 4th “Licenses for Europe” meeting, a European Commission initiative that addresses, among other issues, user generated content and licensing.  Mike Holderness, the chair of the authors' rights expert group, was among the panelists and addressed the need to protect metadata in photographs. Holderness emphasised that original authors’ rights should be respected and that users were also creators who should benefit from authors’ rights protection over their creation.

Authors’ Rights Expert Group meets in Brussels

(6.5.2013) In its latest meeting, the authors’ rights expert group agreed on EFJ current EU lobbying actions on collective management and levies, as well as the latest initiatives of the Observatory on infringement of intellectual property, the IFJ/EFJ campaign against unfair contracts, WIPO and IFRRO developments.

EFJ/IFJ denounce attempts by freedom of expression group to weaken copyright protection for journalists

(17.5.2013) The EFJ/IFJ have denounced a set of principles issued by Article 19 to unduly restrict creators' copyright protection.

In a letter addressed to Article 19 Executive Director, Agnès Callamard, the IFJ has raised its concerns over "The right to share: principles of freedom of Expression and Copyright in the Digital Age", a document that opposes two fundamental rights that safeguard the independence and the integrity of the journalistic profession. To view the letter, please click here.
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Renate Schroeder, Marc Gruber & Yuk Lan Wong