The Freelance Expert Group (FREG) of the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) agreed at its latest meeting in Brussels (26/02/2015) to reinforce its campaign to improve the social and professional status of freelance journalists in Europe. The EFJ experts reached an agreement on two major issues:
- All freelance journalists are journalists and have the right to be member of a trade union or professional association. They have the right to be represented and defended by the organization of their choice. This may seem to be an obvious fact but in several European countries – such as EU member states Greece and Croatia and most applicant countries including Serbia and Turkey – freelance journalists are not allowed to be members of the journalists’ unions. In Belarus, freelance journalists are not even regarded as journalists and thus have no accreditation rights.
- There is a need for an international campaign to convince lawmakers to improve employments rights for self-employed and freelancers. Following an EFJ resolution adopted during its Annual Meeting in November 2014 in Moscow, the EFJ will organise a campaign against the undermining of employment rights of workers independent of their employment status. The EFJ will prepare journalistic campaign material with witnesses from journalism showing the degree of precariousness which leads many freelancers to leave the profession. Debates with members of the European Parliament and national parliaments are envisaged throughout 2015 and 2016.
The FREG experts agreed to organise a webinar on social security systems for freelance journalists on 21/04/2015 discussing best practices and challenges in this crucial policy field.
National reports on the situation of freelance journalists in Belarus, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Norway, the United Kingdom have been discussed by the participants.
(Photo Credit : MK/EFJ)