Online harassment, abuse or threat targeting at female journalists was on top of the agenda at an expert meeting organised by Dunja MijatoviÄ‡, Representative on Freedom of the Media of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation (OSCE) on 17 September in Vienna. Experts including media professionals, organisation leaders and government representatives spoke out against online harassment and violence faced by female journalists. The meeting was also a wake-up call that it is time for the journalist community to tackle the problem.
It was alarming to hear the account of female journalists on the threats they received. Arzu Geybulla, an Azerbaijani journalist working in Turkey spoke about how an Azerbaijani representative at the World Press Freedom Day in Riga harassed her openly without anyone raising her case.
As journalists, we must stand up for our colleagues and make their voices heard. We all have a duty to eradicate these abuses. The EFJ will do its part by calling our members to promote regularly talks on harassment in the newsrooms and to develop a system of support in which victims can report cases of harassment. We must not isolate freelance journalists who need our support too.
These threats and harassment, whether online or offline, must be treated the same way. The perpetrators must be brought to justice to prevent future abuses. As echoed by one of the speakers: online abuse is not a problem of the Internet, it is a societal problem which shall be tackled broadly.
Mogens Blicher BjerregÃ¥rd President of the EFJ
66% of Czech journalists are not unionised
Journalistsâ€™ unions in the Czech Republic should improve their recruitment policy. Thatâ€™s one of the main conclusions of the EFJ-OSNPM survey on journalistsâ€™ working conditions in the Czech Republic.
In the framework of the EFJ/IFj Regional Development Fund, the EFJ, the Union of Journalists and Media Workers of the Czech Republic (OSNPM) and the Austrian union GPA-djp organised a survey to investigate the working conditions of Czech journalists and media workers.
The online survey was launched on 19 May 2015. Around 2,500 journalists and media workers were invited to participate to the survey. Ricardo Gutierrez, EFJ General Secretary and OSNPM leadership analysed together the main findings of the survey during a round table conference, in Prague, on 19 August. Here are the main findings:
- 69% of respondents work in the private sector;
- 37% are freelancers;
- 67% work overtime without any compensation;
- 35% said publishers do not respect labour and social rights;
- 66% are not member of a journalistsâ€™ union or association;
- 81% consider that the protection of journalistsâ€™ rights through collective agreements is â€œvery importantâ€ or â€œimportantâ€;
- 54% consider that ethics is the most important professional concern.
Zdenek Kucera, chairman of the OSNPM, said that the union in the future should focus on journalists who are working without permanent and long-term contracts. The union will also prepare an action plan to recruit new members, to modernise the image of the organisation and to use social network in its communications. â€œWe must expand public awareness of the activities of our organisation, using all available means of communications. We should also focus on unsolved labour disputes, legal and social issues facing journalists,â€ said Zdenek.
(17/09/2015) The EFJ has denounced the latest attack and arrest of journalists who were reporting the refugee crisis on the border between Hungary and Serbian today. Six local and foreign journalists were brutally beaten by the Hungarian border police. Mogens Blicher Bjerregaard, EFJ President said "It was incomprehensible to see an EU country like Hungary constantly violating press freedom and human rights. The European Commission and international institutions must take action against these serious violations."
(17&18/09/2015) The EFJ, the IFJ, the Journalists Union of Turkey (TGS) and the Journalists Association of Turkey (TGC) jointly hosted the conference''Turkey: Fighting for journalistsâ€™ rights and freedoms in a politically polarized country'' in Istanbul. This international conference is the culmination of five years campaigning on journalistsâ€™ rights, freedoms, working conditions and capacity building for the journalist trade union organisation whose strength is fundamental to the future protection and promotion of Turkish journalism.
(17/09/2015) The EFJ, represented by its President, Mogens Blicher BjerregÃ¥rd, participated in a conference in Vienna on countering online abuse of female journalists held by the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Representative on Freedom of the Media in Vienna. The conference gathered experts in the field to help increase understanding and gravity of the issues involved, best practices and possible solutions to tackle the mounting number of online threats targeting at female journalists.
In the framework of the project â€œRights and Jobs in Journalismâ€, the EFJ together with the Spanish journalistsâ€™ union (FSC-CCOO) will organise a one-day workshop on â€œLabour Rights for Journalistsâ€ on 24 September in Albacete, Spain.
Around 30 participants from the EFJ members will discuss and offer practice tools and exchanges on the following themes:
Defending journalistsâ€™ rights in the changing working relations and conditions
Industrial actions and collective bargaining: Organising and mobilising membership
Protection for the vulnerable media workers â€“ young, freelance, female journalists
Results of the workshop will be shared among EFJ affiliates. The workshop is part of a two-year capacity-building project launched by the EFJ and funded by the European Commission (DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion). Contact: Yuk Lan Wong
(8-9/09/2015) The EFJ have called for stronger rights for freelance workers and the need to enforce their fundamental rights to collective bargaining in national and European legislations.
The call came after a workshop hosted by the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) on Collective bargaining for atypical workers in the audio-visual and live performance sector as part of a capacity building project organised by the EFJ, the International Federation of Actors (FIA), the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the International Federation of Musicians (FIM) and UNI-MEl. The workshop discussed various national cases where national competition law restrict the rights of atypical workers to collective bargaining. Speaking at the workshop, Karen Curtis, the Deputy Director of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) re-affirmed the fundamental rights to collective bargaining and associations of freelance workers according to the international labour standards. Curtis reminded that national governments who rectify the ILO convention to ensure the full compliance of labour standards and the need to ensure that competition legislation does not obstruct the rights of atypical workers to freedom of association.
EFJ participates in ETUC Congress
The EFJ will participate in the 13th Congress of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), Tuesday 29 September to Friday 2 October 2015, in Paris. Five hundred trade union delegates will take part in the Congress. They will represent some 90 national trade union organisations from 39 European countries, 10 European sectoral trade union federations (including the EFJ) and special guests from Europe and beyond.
The Congress will set priorities and proposals for action, in order to renew and strengthen the role of the ETUC for the 2015-2019 period. The EFJ fully supports the ETUC commitment to consider new and emerging priorities, such as the digital economy and the rights of workers in this sector. The same applies to the need to target specifically young, female, precarious, atypical, undeclared and migrant workers for better protection and unionisation.
The EFJ will be represented by three delegates: Paco Audije (FAPE), Patrick Kamenka (SNJ-CGT) and Jean-FranÃ§ois Cullafroz (CFDT-Journalistes).
Storytelling, Blenldle and new financing models for journalism
(19.09.2015) Under the title "How journalism works tomorrow ", the DJV organised its 11th conference "Besser Online" (Better Online) in Cologne. Along with 250 journalists, EFJ Director, Renate Schroeder, participated in several workshops discussing trends, opportunities and challenges.
Marten Blankesteijn, founder of the Dutch online news platform Blendle presented the launch of its German version offering online articles of about 100 titles with micropayments. Blankesteijn showed how in particular young people are willing to pay for quality journalism. Other workshops included topics such as data journalism, freelances, technical challenges, hate speech in the online media etc. The impact on the EU trade secrets directive on journalists and whistleblowers was also discussed and the need for more awareness on its potential harm on media freedom. More information in German on: www.besser-online.info; #djvbo.
COUNCIL OF EUROPE (CoE)
Resolutions on media diversity and transparency of media ownership
The CoE has recently voted two resolutions concerning the media. The resolution on Media responsibility and ethics in a changing media environment has welcomed initiatives launched by journalistsâ€™ organisations and called for the promotion of media self-regulation. The resolution also recognises the increasing precarious working conditions facing journalists and the need to ensure editorial independence.
Meanwhile, a resolution onIncreasing transparency of media has also been passed raising the need to ensure media pluralism and diversity in the media content. The CoE called on member states to review their legislation to ensure adequate transparency of the ownership of, and influence over, media outlets (print media, film, radio, television and Internet-based media), including the disclosure of hidden ownership.
In the past years, the EFJ has been active in promoting media diversity and transparency of media ownership through the partnership with the CoE projects (MEDIANE and MARS projects). It has also collaborated with AccessInfo Europe to promote mechanism to ensure transparency of media ownership in Europe.
Negotiation resumes on data protection and trade secrets
Discussions on the EU legislative proposals on data protection and trade secrets have been resumed following the summer break in the European Parliament. The â€œtrialogueâ€ is taking place among the three institutions â€“ the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers. The EFJ has been in touch with the rapporteur, Jan Albrecht (a German MEP of the Group of the Greens) and the and the shadow-rapporteur Marju Lauristin (Estonia, S&D),to push for a journalistic exemption.
Meanwhile, the Parliament, Commission and Council have started negotiations on the controversial trade secrets directive on 15 September. The current compromised text only allows journalists to communicate information that is considered â€œlegitimateâ€ in the public interests. The Council compromise text falls even much below the EP text that at least refers to the Charter of Fundamental Rights. On 22 September, the EFJ will meet with MEP Sergio Cofferati, shadow rapporteur (S&D). A campaign together with other media orgnaisatios and Reporters without Borders is being planned in the coming weeks to oppose the harmful draft directive.The EFJ has argued for the removal of the wording â€œlegitimate useâ€ as the burden of proof will rest on journalists.
Commission launches consultation on audio-visual media
The European Commission has launched a public consultation to assess EU law on audiovisual media (Audiovisual Media Services Directive 2010/13/EU - AVMSD) to check if the current legislation is up-to-date for media in the digital era. During the review, stakeholders will be asked how effective the current law is in safeguarding media freedom and pluralism and what can be done to ensure that. In particular, it will assess the effectiveness of the national audio-visual regulators and their level of independence, as well as media literacy. The deadline to respond is 30 September. Please send your response and comment to Yuk Lan Wong.
As part of the review, a working group meeting on media literacy will take place in Brussels on 1 December. The meeting will discuss the scope of media literacy as an instrument of media pluralism and ethical journalism.
Mapping Freelance journalists in Europe
(18/09/2015) The EFJ and the Freelance Expert Group (FREG) launched a short online survey to get updated data on European freelance journalists, their economic and social status and their role within the unions.
A map including the responses will be published on the website on 19 November, the next date of the Freelance Expert Group Meeting. Until then, more diverse information needs to be collected. At the moment, the EFJ has collected data from 18 unions and associations from 16 countries. Please take 10 minutes of your time and reply to the online survey HERE.
Journalists working in digital media?
(18/09/2015) The EFJ and the EFJ Expert Group on Digital Media (CONEG) also launched a survey to map the working conditions of online media workers in order to shape union policy. The survey also aims to find ways to recruit online media workers in this increasingly important area. Around 40 journalists working in digital media already answered. Please share and participate in the survey. The results will be analysed by the expert group and published on the EFJ website.
(03/09/2015) The President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz has met with a delegation of creatorsâ€™ organisations including the EFJ President, Mogens Blicher BjerregÃ¥rd and presidents of the European Composer and Songwriter Alliance (ESCA), European Writers Council (EWC) and the Federation of European Film Directors (FERA) and the European Federation of Screenwriters (FSE) to discuss the upcoming Digital Single Market Strategy being prepared by the European Commission.
â€œThe International Press card gets you where the story takes youâ€.
The IFJ launched a campaign to promote the International Press Card (IPC), a global press pass delivered by the Federation and widely recognised by public officials in more than 134 countries. The IPC is not only about safety and recognition of professional journalists; it is also a symbol of solidarity amongst media professionals and a commitment to the ethical standards that the IFJ abides by. Promote the card amongst your affiliates! More about the IPC http://www.ifj.org/press-card/