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Journalists stand firm on protection of sources in "Offshore leaks"

(10.4.2013) “Offshore leaks”, the international tax evasion scandals recently exposed by a team of investigative journalists, has caused many stirs and outrages among the public. Journalists and media organisations that exposed the scandals were also caught up in the scandal and were asked to compromise the professional ethics by handing evidence of the reported tax evasion over to authorities.
Following the leaks, both French and German authorities asked newspapers Le Monde and Süddeutsche Zeitung to hand over data passed to them about offshore accounts on the grounds of law enforcement. Both papers, as well as the respective journalists’ unions in France and Germany, stand firm against the unreasonable demand, defending the journalism ethics to protect sources.
Currently, the right to protection of journalistic sources is widely recognised by international and European laws. In Europe, most countries (including France) have adopted national laws to provide the legal guarantee to protect journalistic sources. The EFJ recently published an updated paper providing an overview of current legislation in Europe on the protection of journalistic sources. You can download the paper in English and French HERE.

Media Pluralism

Mobilising to stop big media

(21.3.2013) The European Citizens’ Initiative for Media Pluralism had its launch at the House of Lords in London and attracted many activists, journalists as well as media experts to support the initiative. Marc Gruber, the EFJ co-director, and the president of the National Union of Journalists, Barry McCall, spoke out against big media during the official launch. With the publication of the Leveson Inquiry into the practises and ethics of the British press and the newspaper, participants raised the concern over the influence of big media mogul Rupert Murdoch in shaping Europe’s media landscape.

Following the UK launch, the Bulgarian and Spanish partners will also launch the national campaign on 12 and 25 April in Sofia and Valencia respectively. If you happen to be in one of these places, come and join us. If you have not signed the petition yet, sign now and be the 1 million voices for media pluralism!

Marc Gruber speaking at the EIMP launch in London. Â©EFJ


Journalist sent back to jail after court hearing

Barry White addressing supporter outside the court. Â©EFJ

(21.3.2013) Odatv journalist Yalçin Küçük was sent back to prison after a hearing lasting some four hours. Barry White, member of the EFJ Steering Committee representing the National Union of Journalists in the UK, attended the trial and showed EFJ support to the jailed journalist. Küçük has been in prison for more than 750 days without substantial grounds for his conviction. Meanwhile, in the Ergenkon case, journalists Tuncay Özkan and Mustafa Balbay were told by the court that they could face life sentences. The EFJ was outraged by the news and will continue the fight for press freedom in Turkey.
EFJ Steering Committee member Ercan Ipekci and Joachim Legatis of dju in ver.di in Germany will go to Istanbul on 22 April to show solidarity with colleagues who are currently in jail. (Read more)

NUJ welcomes charter on press regulation

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has welcomed the inclusion of several union policies in the new Royal Charter on press regulation, which sets out a framework for a new regulator as agreed by the UK parliament. The Charter sets up a recognition panel that is independent of both politicians and the industry and that this body would play no direct part in press regulation. Rather it would merely identify the criteria for an acceptable regulator to offer protection to members who sign up to it, against exemplary damages under the Crime and Courts bill, which is being considered by the parliament.
The union believes that any new regulatory press system should explicitly recognise the essential role played by the NUJ at all levels in maintaining ethical standards. It also intends to continue campaigning for a conscience clause for journalists in the new regulator’s code and/or in journalist’s contract of employment.
It is now nearly 5 months since the Leveson report was published. The discredited Press Complaints Commission is still operating and as parliament starts work again after the Easter break, there are also serious questions to be answered about protection for small publishers and online bloggers from penalties intended for ‘media moguls’. (Author: Barry White)



BBC strikes against cost-cutting scheme

(28.3.2013) BBC journalists and their colleagues walked out in a 12-hour strike against a damaging cost-cutting scheme imposed by the management. The action severely disrupted the BBC's schedules. The EFJ expressed its strong backing for the strike, saying that this is a key battle for all journalists working for the public broadcasting sector in Europe.
Following a successful strike, the BBC new director general, Tony Hall,  invited the general secretary of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), Michelle Stanistreet, to discuss the issue. The NUJ will be calling for a halt to the cuts and raising the issue of bullying at the BBC. Union representatives at BBC will meet this week to discuss how to take the action forward as more jobs are at risk.
To show your support, you can write to and join the campaign. For the latest campaign updates please visit Fight for Our BBC.
Strike actions taking place across the UK against BBC cuts. (photo credit: NUJ)

Victory for unions as court rules on unfair dismissals

(09.04.2013) The Madrid Labour Court of Justice ruled in favour of journalists’ unions (FeSP, FSC-CCOO and UGT), concluding that all 861 redundancies at public broadcaster Telemadrid were “unfair dismissals”.  For months, unions and employees of Telemadrid had been protesting against the dismissals. Following the ruling, Telemadrid will have to either confirm the redundancies with increased indemnities or readmit its employees. Meanwhile, strikes against budget cuts and further lay-offs continue for journalists and employees working at other public channels, including Catalunya Radio and TV3, as well as the Catalan News Press Agency and newspaper El Periódico de Catalunya.

Journalist died after severe beating

(10.4.2013) Mikhail Beketov, a former editor of the Russian independent newspaper, Khimkinskaya Pravda, died of heart failure in a Moscow hospital as a direct consequence of the injuries he sustained in an assault dated back in November 2008. Both the EFJ and IFJ were saddened by the news and condemned the failure of the authority to bring Beketov’s attacker to justice.

The EFJ affiliate, Russian Union of Journalists, has encouraged all international media and civil society organisations that defend the rights and safety of journalists and media staff to honour the memory of Mr Beketov, to strengthen professional solidarity and make every effort to prevent such tragedies in the future. (Read more)

Negotiations for new agreement begin

(5.4.2013) Over 5000 print journalists in Finland have begun negotiations with employers for a new collective agreement. The current agreement expires at the end of April. The EFJ affiliate, Union of Journalists in Finland (UJF), is leading tough negotiations with the Federation of Finnish Media Industry (VKL) because the proposed agreement asked journalists to work more and get paid less. The union said that the new conditions were unacceptable and further rejected the proposal to scrap part of the core journalistic code of ethics in the collective agreement. (Read more)

Journalists to cast vote on new agreement

(9.4.2013) The EFJ affiliate in Austria, GPA-DJP, called on its members to cast the ballot on the new collective agreement that has recently been agreed. While details of the agreement are being finalised, the president of GPA-DJP, Franz Bauer, is positive about the outcome, saying that the new agreement will guarantee online journalists and freelancers equal working conditions as staffers. The ballot will take place from 8 to 22 May. If voted, the agreement will come into force on 1 July. (Read more)
Contact: Judith Reitstätter

Outrage as Nicolas Sarkozy imposes censorship

(28.3.2013) Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy sparked outrage among journalists when he imposed censorship during a public award ceremony. Bestowing the Legion d’Honneur upon the Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Didier Reynders, Sarkozy demanded that French  journalists were not admitted to the ceremony and were not granted the opportunity to ask questions. The demand obviously aims to prevent journalists asking the former president embarrassing questions about a judicial affair involving him. (Read more)

European Parliament debates claims over "media as threat to judiciary"

(27.3.2013) EFJ co-director, Marc Gruber, has spoken out against recent claims in a report published by the European Commission accusing the Romanian media of being a threat to the country’s judicial system. Speaking in a public hearing held by the Romanian MEPs, Norica Nicolai and Renate Weber, Gruber said that the accusation of “media as a threat to the independence of the judiciary” in Romania is absurd and contradictory to the Commission’s aims to promote press freedom in the country. (Read more)

Concerns grow over press freedom

(15.3.2013) Recent developments of media freedom in Hungary have caused a stir across Europe, with citizens and journalists joining forces with civil society organisations to protest against the draconian media law. On 15 March, the Hungarian national day, the EFJ joined a Europe-wide protest calling on the country’s Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán, to withdraw the media law silencing the media. Three days after the protest, the government caused another outcry by awarding one of the top journalism prizes (the Táncsis-Prize) to Ferenc Szaniszló, a far-right journalist working for pro-government Echo TV. The decision has led to another protest by both former laureates of the prize and journalists. (Read more)
EFJ representatives (in the photo at the bottom right) joined the Brussels protest with civil society groups. © EFJ

EU considers new laws to protect media freedom and press pluralism

(22.3.2013) The European Commission is considering EU legislation to better protect media freedom and pluralism following the recommendations made by a group of media experts in January. Neelie Kroes, the European Commissioner for digital agenda, officially announced two consultations on the independence of the audio-visual regulatory bodies and the state of media freedom and pluralism in Europe.

The EFJ welcomed the consultations, taking place at “a key moment” to make journalists’ voices heard, since the Citizen’s initiative is taking place at the same time. The EFJ will prepare a response in consultation with its broadcasting group and member unions. All EFJ affiliates are asked to contribute to the consultations.
The deadline to respond is on 14 June 2013. The consultations are open to individual citizens as well as organisations. (Find out more)
Contact: Marc Gruber

EFJ and CoE kick off new project on media diversity

The EFJ has embarked on a new project on media diversity with the Council of Europe (CoE) which aims to improve diversity in the news and inside newsrooms. A series of national and regional events and training programmes will be organised by partners to address the issue. The EFJ will organise two events inviting representatives of journalists’ unions and relevant stakeholders to develop policies, guidelines and strategies to improve journalism standards and diversity in the news. Through the project, the EFJ aims to set up a group of experts, consisting of representatives of member unions, to meet regularly to exchange best practices and develop strategies for unions to tackle the issue. A communication will be sent to EFJ members in the coming days about details of the project and the expert group.
The Media in Europe for Diversity Inclusiveness (MEDIANE) project is co-funded by the CoE and the EU. Other partners include Community Media Forum Europe, European Journalism Training Association and Media Animation. For more information please contact Yuk Lan Wong or visit the CoE project website.

EU to reform copyright law enforcement

(28.3.2013) The EFJ told policy-makers to better protect journalists’ authors’ rights in the upcoming review of the EU intellectual property rights enforcement law. In a policy paper sent to the European Commission, the EFJ asked the Commission to set out a strong legal protection so that journalists can remain independent and produce high standards of journalism. 
The EFJ highlighted the need to set up judicial proceedings for small claims on copyright-related issues and to develop new technology to prevent fraudulent authorship or removal of authors’ data. The EFJ said that the major challenge facing journalists continues to be the buy-out contracts which require journalists to assign all their exclusive rights to media organisations without fair compensation. (Read more)

EP makes progress in copyright reform on collective rights management

(18.3.2013) The European Parliament continued the debate the proposed law regulating collecting societies and multi-territorial licensing of rights online with stakeholders to achieve an agreement which benefits both creators and consumers. (Read more)
New Publication
Women in journalists' unions in Europe
This is a joint report published by the EFJ and IFJ to update the situation of women represented in journalists' unions across Europe. The report looks into women’s presence in youth as well as freelance and permanent staffers’ membership. It also assesses to what extent the financial crisis has affected women and young journalists in comparison to men in the profession.

Media Job Losses in Europe

In order to present a comprehensive overview of the current job losses in the media industry at the coming EFJ Annual Meeting in May, the EFJ secretariat is preparing a working paper with records of job losses across Europe since 2012. EFJ affiliates were asked to contribute data to complete the working paper so that the EFJ Steering Committee can develop new strategies to fight back cuts.
Preliminary results show that Spain was hardest hit with nearly 4000 media staff losing their jobs in 2012. This is followed by 800 and 600 job losses in Croatia and Germany respectively. Elsewhere in Europe, the number of job losses remains below 500 in each country according to the current data received.
Please help us complete the data and send us information regarding job losses in the media.
Contact: Rebecca Weicht
Upcoming Events
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Renate Schroeder, Marc Gruber & Yuk Lan Wong