A Democratic Europe Relies on A Free and Pluralistic media
Democracy in Europe needs a free and pluralistic media â€“ this is the message the EFJ sent to all candidates for the European elections. In our Manifesto, we reminded all candidates that media is a cornerstone of Europeâ€™s democracy, and that the media can only fulfill its role if they remain free in a pluralistic media landscape. Immediately, the candidates for the European Commission President, MEPs Ska Keller (Greens) and Guy Verhofstadt (ALDE) have shown their commitment by signing up to our Manifesto.
Now we hope that EU policy-makers will uphold their promises by turning them into actions once the new European Commission and Parliament are put in place. One of their priorities should focus on reviving public service broadcasting in Europe in order to maintain a diverse media landscape. The rhetoric that downsizing public service broadcasters can balance the growth for commercial media is a big mistake. Global media corporations like search engines, social media and streaming service providers are becoming the major players in Europeâ€™ media landscape.
Journalism is not a commodity. Journalism is a public good. Accountability and credibility are the fundamental principles for independent journalism. We can only fulfill our public mission to service the public interest through high journalism standards and ethics. But this is not sufficient if policy-makers fail to ensure the existence of an independent, self-regulatory body for media.
Last but not least, policy-makers must not forget about the authorsâ€™ rights of journalists which are a guarantee for authenticity and high standards in journalism. The EFJ is pushing this issue not only on Europeâ€™s agenda but also on the international agenda. On 5 May, we will meet with the head of the World Intellectual Property Organisation, Mr Francis Gurry, to discuss ways to better protect the authorsâ€™ rights of journalists through international actions.
EFJ President Mogens Blicher-BjerregÃ¥rd
EFJ Manifesto for European Elections 2014
(26.4.2014) Ahead of the European Elections on 22 - 25 May, the EFJ launched the Journalists' Manifesto which called on all candidates for the European elections to commit to the Journalistsâ€™ Manifesto for the revival of a free and pluralistic media in Europe.
The Manifesto called on candidate MEPs and European Commission President candidates to defend the ten principles advocated by the EFJ. Detailed policy recommendations were developed for EU policy-makers to act on.
Following the call, MEPs Ska Keller and Guy Verhofstadt, candidates for the European Commission President, have signed up to the EFJ Manifesto, confirming their commitment.
The EFJ encourages its affiliates to contact their candidate MEPs and promote the Manifesto.
TGS-EFJ Kicks Off First Capacity Building Workshop
(26-27.04.2014) The EFJ and its affiliate in Turkey, the Journalists Union of Turkey (TGS for TÃ¼rkiye Gazeteciler Sendikasi), organised the first workshop for a two-year project called â€œPress Freedom and Empowering the Journalists Trade Union Movement in Turkeyâ€. The workshop covered the issues on union capacity-building, recruitment strategies, legal assistance and the TGS-EFJ campaign for the freedom of imprisoned journalists. The workshop also discussed the preparation of a major international conference for 2016.
Renate Schroeder (EFJ Director) and Mehmet Koksal (EFJ Project Officer) also visited an opposition newspaper Karsi Direnis, occupied by over 50 journalists who were fired without prior notice and payment for their work in the past few months. A panel discussion on social rights, resistance movements and press future in Turkey took place at the newspaper headquarter in Zeytinburnu (Istanbul) with the participation of writers, columnists, unionists and EFJ representatives. The EFJ also participated in a protest organised by the TGS responding to government ban on demonstrations in Taksim square on 1 May. The TGS, together with the EFJ, reminded journalists about their rights and duties to report on the demonstrations and demanded the police to respect their rights and restrain from using violence against journalists. New campaign materials were distributed to journalists covering the upcoming 1 May demonstrations at Taksim square (Istanbul).
If you want to send a solidarity message to support the journalists dismissed at Karsi Direnis, post your tweet in any language to @KarsiDirenis. For more information about the project and campaign, please visit the Turkey campaign page. (photo credit: TGS)
Turkish Government Bans Social Media
(02.04.2014) Access to Twitter was blocked in Turkey on March 21, 2014, just hours after a speech from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan where he threatened to â€œroot outâ€ the microblogging site. The ban was an attempt to censor critical content including voice recordings and documents that purportedly showed evidence of corruption among ErdoÄŸan's inner circle and family. (read more)
Judicial Double Standards Remain for Journalists Trials in Turkey
(20.03.2014) The lawyers of FÃ¼sun Erdogan, Bayram Namaz and Arif Celebi, on trial in the MLKP case, have appealed for the imprisoned journalists to be released based on the recent decision of the Turkish government to make the maximum period for detention for the Ergenekon, Balyoz and OdaTV cases five years. Their request has been rejected, even though the journalists have already served five years and their colleagues imprisoned due to the Ergenekon case have been freed. (read more)
Meanwhile, the EFJ affiliate in Denmark, the Danish Journalistsâ€™ Union (DJ), has criticised its government for the lavish reception to welcome the President of Turkey, Abdullah GÃ¼l, and the failure to put pressure on Turkey to improve press freedom. Esben Ã˜rberg, the communications adviser of DJ has explained in a feature article why Denmark has failed to achieve justice for imprisoned journalist FÃ¼sun Erdogan so far.
Youth and Women in the Media
(11-13. 04.2014) Around 40 journalists, union representatives and media educators have attended a two-day meeting on 'Youth and Women in the Media,' under the project Media in Europe for Diverisity Inclusiveness (MEDIANE), lead by the Council of Europe (CoE) and co-funded by the EU and CoE.
The meeting highlighted best practice examples in Denmark and Germany where youth and women are taking leadership role in the unions. Participants emphasised the need for journalists' unions to improve their recruitment strategies and change their consitutions (if necessary) to reach out to young journalists including journalism students and freelancers.
To better understand how diverse & inclusive the media workplace is, participants also visited the local TV and radio stations TV Tourins and Bayerischer Rundfunk, as well as the journalism school of the Univerisity of Applied Sciences in WÃ¼rzburg. (Picture credit: Rainer Reichert)
Labour Right Experts Meet to Discuss Challenges
(10.04.2014) The Labour Rights Expert Group (LAREG) of the EFJ met in WÃ¼rzburg, Germany to discuss challenges faced by journalists in defending their labour and social rights in the media crisis.
National experts from the EFJ affiliates in Belgium, Greece, Germany, Italy, Spain and Switzerland have highlighted the impact of austerity measures on the working conditions of journalists. Journalists in Greece and Spain are hardest hit by the crisis which has led to the recent closure of the public broadcasting services, ERT (Greece) and TV Valencia (Spain).
The group will also launch a toolbox in the coming months providing unions some useful information on collective bargaining, national and European legal protection for the social rights of journalists. The toolbox will be made available to all EFJ affiliates.
If you have useful information to share regarding social protection, new collective bargaining provisions, or legal provision strenghtening the rights of journalists, please contact Yuk Lan Wong.
Employment Relationships in the Media and Culture Industry
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has published a policy paper providing an overview of the changing employment relationships in the media and cultural industry around the world.
The paper has highlighted a global trend towards freelance, self-employed or informal economy work in the industry. It has resulted in a shift towards more temporary employment arrangement with weaker worker protection.
(20 â€“ 21.03.2014) Over 50 leaders of journalistsâ€™ unions, journalists and media experts gathered in Vienna in a two-day seminar debating about finding new ways to fund journalism while maintaining quality content through innovation and strong trade unionism.
Embracing the challenge with enthusiasm was the spirit of the seminar. The preliminary result of a survey was presented by the author Andreas K. Bittner on how the financing and employment models in journalism are changing due to the crisis and how unions are responding to such changes. The results of the survey will be complied in a final report including recommendations and conclusions made during the seminar.
The seminar was funded by the European Commission and hosted by the EFJ affiliate in Austria (GPA-djp). (read more)
Swedish Freelances Calculator
(21. 03.2014) Freelance journalists are generally known for their lousy pay. To improve the pay conditions, the Swedish Journalistsâ€™ Union has recently introduced a Freelance Calculator to help freelancers negotiate a fair payment for their works. The Calculator was adapted from the Norwegian model which provides a database of the different salaries received by staffed reporters in the country. It aims to provide general guidelines for freelance journalists when they negotiate their fees with media organisations.
The EFJ has welcomed its new staff member, Mehmet Koksal, who will work as an EFJ Project Officer. Koksal will be responsible for the new projects funded by the European Commission and LOTCO to improve union capacity and press freedom in Turkey.
Mehmet Koksal is a freelance journalist and very active in the Belgian union. He is Vice President of the Belgian French speaking union (AJP). He will work part-time for LOTCO, helping the Macedonian, Turkish and Serbian union to improve its recruitment programme, giving advice on capacity building and financial reporting. In Janauary, Koksal was selected as the first runner-up (among 46 candidates from 12 different countries) after the EFJ call and the interviews to hire a new EFJ European Policy and Projects Officer.