Resolutions and statements, Budva 2015

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1. Resolutions

The Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) on 2nd June, 2015 has adopted the following resolutions:

A. On lobbying

1. On Authors’ rights in the digital single market
Tabled by DJV, Germany, SNJ-CGT, France, and EFJ Steering Committee

The Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), meeting in Budva, Montenegro on 2nd June 2015,

Noting that authors’ rights are subject to intensive attacks from free use lobbying groups;

Considering that any erosion of authors’ rights principles would hamper the economic situation of journalists in Europe and threaten quality journalism;

Considering that the EU Digital Market Strategy adopted on 6th May calls on better access to digital content, including the need for greater legal certainty to enable research and education institutions make wide use of copyright-protected material, and considers measures to safeguard fair remuneration of creators;

Considering that the European Commission will resume in the upcoming months a study on the remuneration of journalists and will look into their contractual situation;

Considering that the European Commission will deliver this autumn a proposal for a copyright reform;

Considering that authors’ rights and remuneration of authors’ and performers are crucial for maintaining pluralism in media and ensuring a broad range of European content;

Instructs the Steering Committee:

• to pursue lobbying activities to support fair contracts for journalists and develop an EU instrument that sets core principles to protect the weaker party in a journalists’ contract;

• to continue the dialogue with the EU Commission, the European Parliament and local governments and parliaments to urge them to maintain remuneration of journalists for the use of their work for education and research purposes;

• together with other European authors’ rights groups to urge European governments and institutions to safeguard authors’ rights as a guarantee for pluralism, credibility and quality in media;

• to call on EFJ affiliates to contact their governments and their national members of the European Parliament to defend authors’ rights by opposing the Reda report and by encouraging agreements which allow journalists to keep a right of access regarding the re-use of information (written, fixed image, video) they have worked with and a fair remuneration.

• to oppose the abandonment of the principle of territoriality (geo-blocking), since there is a risk that long-term growth licensing models are destroyed and the economic position of the author is significantly weakened.

2. On social convergence of the status of freelance journalists (pigistes)
Tabled by SNJ-CGT, France

The Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), meeting in Budva, Montenegro on 2nd June 2015,

Noting that in more and more countries, the number of non-permanent journalists increases;

Observing that precarious employment is imposed by media groups and that freelance journalism is not always a choice but a necessity for young journalists who wish to enter the profession, depriving them increasingly of basic social protection (including the right to organise in order to defend themselves collectively) and locking them into face to face negotiations, in which they are in a position of weakness;

Considering that quality journalism cannot thrive with journalists with a two tiered status and in particular with precarious journalists whose independence is not identical with permanent staff;

Considering that last General meeting of the EFJ had adopted a resolution that gives a mandate to the Steering Committee to implement initiatives with the objective to obtain equal treatment between freelances (pigistes) and staff;

Considering that the free movements of workers is a founding principle of the EU;

Considering that the affiliated organisations to the EFJ should bring the needed responses to facilitate the free movement of journalists in Europe, in particular to fight the social dumping and to guarantee solidarity between all member organisations;

Instructs the Steering Committee:

• To encourage the EFJ affiliates to strengthen the implementation of the EFJ Charter of Freelance Rights, adopted by the Annual Meeting in 2006, within their national context. In particular, this means to achieve more cooperation between employees and freelances to advocate for more equal working conditions for the two groups;

• To use the EU Charter of Freelance Rights and its Article 12 about the right to organise and Article 28 on the right to collective bargaining when urging authorities and media owners to engage in collective agreements;

• To have a close cooperation with the FREG about developing mechanisms for freelances rights;

• To present a report on effective action to the 2016 General Meeting.

3. European directive on trade secrets and investigative journalism
Tabled by SNJ-CGT, France and DJV, Germany

The Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Journalists, meeting in Budva, Montenegro on 2nd June 2015,

Considering that the project of a directive on trade secrets which is currently discussed in the European Parliament is a major threat to press freedom and other fundamental rights, as civil society organisations, whistle-blowers, trade unionists and journalists risk being persecuted by the authorities,

Considering that the right to freedom of expression and information could be seriously harmed by the fact that the current exception related to the legitimate use of freedom of expression is not sufficient to guarantee the right to access information and the right of the public to be informed,

Taking into account that if the EU draft directive is approved in its current form, a regression of freedom of reporting for journalists could be possible in Europe,

Believing that disclosure of some “commercial data” is very often of highest public interest and taking into account that that some cross-border co-operation has begun to work against financial fraud,

Considering that the work of professional and investigative journalists cannot be assimilated with a criminal offense, especially when real financial and commercial crimes are exposed to the public, that it cannot be that the editors or publishers would have to consult the legal consequences prior to publication,

Congratulating the trade unions in France –and above all, the journalists’ unions – who have been able to get the government to back away from an anticipated adoption of the directive and to recognize that trade secrets threaten freedom of expression within and outside the company.

Supporting the request of the EFJ and the French unions, who condemned the investigation of the journalist from France Télévision, Edouard Perrin, which follows the one concerning Antoine Deltour, requiring the Justice Minister of the Grand Duchy to stop any proceedings against the authors of the revelations of those responsible for fiscal frauds.

Instructs the Steering Committee to take all possible measures in order to lift the sanctions against the journalists already affected by denouncing some trade secrets in Europe,

Calls on the European institutions to amend this draft in order to respect journalists’ professional protection of sources and the freedom of the press.

4. STOP the TTIP, TiSA process
Tabled by SNJ-CGT, France

The Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), meeting in Budva, Montenegro on 2nd June 2015,

Noting that the negotiations on the TTIP have resumed for a new round in greatest secrecy,

Welcomes the work undertaken by the EFJ together with other civil society organisations in campaigning for transparency with regards to the TTIP as set out in the current Steering Committee report,

Considers that it is urgent to mobilize public opinion to defeat the project of a transatlantic free trade agreement between the EU and the US as the negotiators want to finalise a document on this “economic NATO” by the end of the year;

Noting with satisfaction the success of the day of action that took place on 18 April and the fact that the “Stop Tafta” petition has gathered nearly 2 million signatures,

Welcoming that this successful mobilisation led to the adoption of a resolution by the General Affairs and International Relations Committee of the Walloon parliament calling for the suspension of the negotiations in the framework of the project of transatlantic trade and investment partnership between the European Union and the United States (TTIP),

Observing that the Employment Committee and the Legal Affairs Committee of the European Parliament just rejected one of the most dangerous instruments of the transatlantic partnership: the investor-state dispute settlement mechanism,

Recalling that the European Union believes that the ISDS mechanism is “not necessary” in the TTIP,

Knowing that this mechanism aims to create private arbitration tribunals that would allow bypassing of the national courts and assign judicial decisions to international arbitration without any independent supervision or any right of appeal,

Believing, however, that opposition only to the ISDS will not be enough to block the signing of this Treaty, harmful for employees on both sides of the Atlantic,

Recalling that, on 14 June 2013, the European Commission has received a mandate from all Member States to negotiate with the USA the Transatlantic Free Trade Area (TAFTA) to create a vast free trade market between the European Union and the United States, going beyond the WTO agreements,

Stressing that citizens were kept out of discussions taking place in the strictest confidentiality between a handful of negotiators, non-elected experts and lobbyists,

Noting that the same concerns apply to the Trade in Services Agreement TiSA, that is being negotiated between 23 states, including the EU, the USA and several non EU European Countries, and which may affect the national sovereignty on regulating public services, including public media.

Urgently calls for strengthening the campaign against the proposed creation of a large transatlantic market which is more and more clearly a wide agenda for the liberalisation of the two economies, the American and the European one.

Instructs the Steering Committee:

• To continue the fight for the full access to information on the TTIP and TiSA negotiations.

• To continue to oppose secret negotiations as a principle, as long as there is no transparent public information on the content of the negotiations.

• To identify the issues, where TTIP and TiSA will affect journalist’s rights, including in particular:

o Freedom of expression and freedom of press
o Freedom of information and Right to information access
o Labour rights of staff and freelance journalists
o Author’s rights for journalists
o The full national sovereignty to regulate public broadcasting, including its public financing
o To maintain the democratic rights of citizens that concern journalism.

• Once concrete threats are identified,

o to strengthen information to national affiliates and journalists about these threats by appropriate means, including the use of the EFJ website,
o to strengthen the campaign by the same means,
o to continue and strengthen alliances with organizations working on protection of citizens’ rights, with regards to the TTIP and TiSA negotiations,
o to continue including journalists’ concerns on TTIP negotiations and the possible TTIP consequences into the lobbying activity of the EFJ,
o to strengthen “STOP TTIP / TiSA” – the cooperation with ETUC and other civil society organisations, by bringing in the journalist’s concerns, for instance by taking part in press conferences where appropriate.

B. On Media rights, media freedom and safety

5. On protection of sources in an age of surveillance
Tabled by NUJ, United Kingdom

The Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), meeting in Budva, Montenegro on 2nd June 2015,

Welcomes the international meeting organised by the IFJ and NUJ in London on 16 October 2014 entitled ‘Journalism in the age of mass surveillance: safeguarding journalists and their sources’. It further welcomes and supports its recommendations outlining practical steps to safeguard journalist and their sources.

It notes that the right to protect journalistic independence helps safeguard democracy and is a guarantee of the quality and range of information available to the public.

The right to protect journalistic sources is recognised by international law. It has been recognised by the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the Organization of American States and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. The European Court of Human Rights said in several of its decisions that it’s a key element of freedom of expression.

In most countries where a law protecting journalistic sources was adopted, the number of cases incriminating journalists on this matter has decreased or can be more easily fought back at a legal level. In countries were no such law was adopted, journalistic sources are more often threatened.

The European Court of Human Rights has developed a constant and heavy case law in favour of journalistic sources protection since its decision in the Goodwin case in 1996. Since then, there have been many other decisions, all confirming the right of journalists to not reveal the name of their informers.

Journalists’ sources are in constant danger. The war on terrorism provides the authorities an opportunity to access journalistic sources, and we are increasingly concerned that security laws also allow the violation of these sources. Dozens of countries have ultimately adopted laws on special search methods, and most of these laws give a lot of power to the authorities to, among other things, organise electronic surveillance without considering confidential sources.

Welcomes the initiatives taken by the EFJ in raising these concerns with the European Parliament and institutions and reaffirms the need to continually campaign at these levels to secure the protection of journalists’ sources and against continuing mass surveillance which threaten sources. Over a year ago, it was revealed how the NSA trampled on the privacy rights of citizens all over the world. Its mass surveillance has had a chilling effect on the exercise of our constitutional rights. The huge outcry should be translated into a momentum for change that would stop the indiscriminate collection of information and bring back surveillance policies under democratic control both at national and European levels.

To this end, it welcomes the creation of an online safety platform for journalists and memorandum of understanding signed on 4 December 2014 with the Council of Europe and three other media freedom partner agencies which will allow affiliates to report any media violation including threat to journalists’ sources and judicial intimidations through use of so called anti-terror laws.

It also recognises that the use of common communication tools, such as mobile phones or internet, put journalistic sources at great risk since the suppliers keep the data. We must protect this data, and setting up training courses for journalists to achieve this objective should be undertaken by affiliates.

Instructs the Steering Committee:

• to support and publicise legal challenges brought by affiliates against surveillance of journalists’ communications and sources. It recalls the EFJ policy paper on the protection of sources and further supports efforts by affiliates in countries without constitutional rights to protection of sources to campaign for legal reform to win such protection.

• To reach out to civil society including non-media unions, legal experts, the medical profession, politicians and all other alliances that oppose mass surveillance or rely on professional confidentiality and help build a strong and coordinated European movement to rein in the unchecked surveillance powers that our governments have misused over our citizens.

6. The project on mass surveillance in France
Tabled by SNJ and SNJ-CGT, France

The Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), meeting in Budva, Montenegro on 2nd June 2015,

Noting that the French Senate will debate a new law about intelligence and public surveillance which has already been voted by the French Lower Chamber;

Noting that according to the proposed law, the intelligence service would be authorised to have access to digital data pertaining to a large swath of the French society. Recording and filming devices could be installed in peoples’ homes and in their cell phones. Citizens’ communications could be largely monitored regardless of whether they are implicated in potentially illegal acts, inside or outside the country without the obligation for the police and secrets services to go through an authorisation of the judiciary.

Agrees to send the following letter (in French) in the name of IFJ, EFJ and the French unions to François Hollande, President of the Republic:

Letter to François Hollande
President of the Republic

Dear Mister President,

Press freedom is the cornerstone for all democratic countries.

France, which can be proud to have always respected and encouraged the principle of freedom through its laws, its jurisprudence and practices and its Constitution, would put in danger this good reputation through the draft law on surveillance, which will be discussed in the Senate on 2nd June.

The urgent procedure, put in place by your government in order to adopt the text does not allow in the absence of serious debates, to touch upon this very fragile balance between security and the freedoms of everybody without irreversible damage.

With regard to journalists, they would be treated just as any other citizens to mass surveillance, which would be institutionalised. They would no longer be able to protect their sources. Sources who start already to be concerned as colleagues inform us.

Without sources, no information, then no journalists worth the name.
Technical tools, that are promoted for their performance, do not distinguish between the ordinary citizen, somebody suspected of terrorism, a journalist or you mister President.

Neither any algorithms.

Mister President, you have recently honored four members of the resistance including the journalist Pierre Brossolette, by recalling this profession that one needs to be able to say no.

We: IFJ, EFJ, SNJ, SNJ-CGT ask you solemnly not to promulgate a law, which is, in its current text, an attack against fundamental freedoms, in particular freedom to inform and to be informed.

7. Free Dawit Isaak – imprisoned for 5000 days on 2 June.
Tabled by Swedish Union of Journalists, SJF

The Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), meeting in Budva, Montenegro on 2nd June 2015,

Notes that today the Swedish journalist Dawit Isaak has been in jail in Eritrea for 5000 days. This is almost 14 years.

Dawit Isaak has never been charged or tried but incarcerated since 23 September 2001. When Dawit Isaak and several of his colleagues were arrested, the Eritrean regime also banned all privately owned and independent media. Press freedom is non-existent in Eritrea.

The imprisonment of Dawit Isaak is an apparent violation of human rights and of freedom of expression.

We are gravely concerned for Dawit Isaak’s health and urge the Eritrean government to let Dawit Isaak return to Sweden to be reunited with his family and receive proper medical treatment.

Instructs the Steering Committee to support the case and urge the European Union and the Council of Europe to intensify their efforts in getting Dawit Isaak released as soon as possible.

8. On combating violence and impunity in Russia
Tabled by: Russian Union of Journalists (RUJ)

The Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Journalists, meeting in Budva, Montenegro on 2nd June 2015,

Noting that safety of journalists is still a hot issue, that despite all calls and efforts of EFJ and IFJ journalists media freedom is under attack in Russia, that since the Moscow Annual Meeting one journalist was killed and many received threats and fines, that the economic crisis had an dramatic impact on the media industry and job cuts will lead to 60,000 unemployed journalists by this autumn;

Noting anti-Russian sanctions had impacted first of all on civil society and independent media and the economic crisis created new strong pressure on free journalism and that information wars squeeze journalists to produce propaganda;

Noting that the Moscow International Journalist Centre through the IFJ provides safety and ethical training for journalists from Russia and Central Asia.

Instructs the EFJ Steering Committee:

• To support RUJ efforts to promote safe work and legal education, and to campaign for free speech and journalist integrity;

• To benefit from the Council of Europe online platform to promote the protection of journalism and safety of journalists as the EFJ provides the platform with different cases violating journalism and media.

9. On supporting diversities and combating hate speech in the media
Tabled by: Russian Union of Journalists (RUJ)

The Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Journalists, meeting in Budva, Montenegro from June 2, 2013 (2015),

Noting that pluralism in the media field is one basic value and indication of a healthy media development;

Believing that journalists’ solidarity is the main tool to protect journalism as a public good and to combat hate;

Reaffirming that the EFJ already confirmed its commitment to strengthening solidarity of unions and overcoming hate speech by its 2014 AM resolutions,

Instructs the EFJ Steering Committee:

• To support media pluralism including independent media in the region, and to support efforts to consolidate media initiatives devoted to developing pluralism and culture of tolerance in the region;

• To continue to include combating hate speech, propaganda and hostility in the media in the EFJ agenda and involve young professionals and experts in this work;

• To support dialogue of Russian and Ukrainian professional organisations and develop a regional strategy on combating hate speech and support the elaboration of language of peace communication.

C. Other

10. Оn EFJ support for the building of close regional ties and cooperation between EU affiliates in the Balkan and Black sea regions
Tabled by the Union of Bulgarian Journalists

The Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), meeting in Budva, Montenegro, on 2rd June 2015,

Noting the devastating impact of the global economic and financial crisis, which is still raging on in the countries of the Balkan and Black sea regions, on the state of the media;

Deeply worried by the dramatic fall of incomes, the rising tide of job losses and the deterioration of labour conditions of journalists under increasing pressure of media owners on their trade union, social and even basic human rights;

Deeply concerned by the scope of monopolization in the media sector, including the distribution networks for newspapers and magazines, in almost all countries in the region, accompanied by growing attacks on well-established democratic freedoms, on the right of free expression and on the free access to information for journalists;

Expressing its indignation at the actual suspension of social dialogue in the media sector and the mass refusal of media owners in Southeast Europe to engage in collective bargaining even in the public media, combined with open or concealed pressure, intimidation and even threats by media owners against members of EFJ affiliates in separate countries, defending their jobs and rights;

Noting with great concern the growing trend to judicial pressure, physical threats and abuses against journalists fulfilling their professional duties in conditions of flagrant impunity of the perpetrators and the negligence of the judiciary;

Recognizing the disengagement of state authorities from the creation and support of a healthy and safe media environment and their reluctance to guarantee the professional rights and safety of journalists and the efficient protection of their profession in the poorest part of Europe,

Instructs the EFJ Steering Committee:

• To assist in organizing a meeting of leading representative of EFJ affiliates from all Balkan countries with the purpose of establishing a way to coordinate the initiatives among these affiliates.

• To Invite all EFJ affiliates in the countries of the Balkan and Black Sea regions to establish a system of regular operative contacts for sharing experience and close cooperation with regard to organizing common action against the pressure of media owners and state structures for the defence of professional, social, trade union and labour rights of journalists.

• To stress the needs of capacity building in the Balkans, when the European Union as a follow-up to the 1st Eastern Partnership Media Conference will develop new programs to support stronger journalists’ organizations in Eastern Europe, both the applicant countries and the non-EU countries included in the Eastern Partnership.

• To work with all the European Institutions at EU level, the Council of Europe, OSCE and UNESCO.

11. For revoking a decision of the Steering Committee of EFJ for the naming policy of Republic of Macedonia

Tabled by the Association of Journalists of Macedonia

The Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), meeting in Budva, Montenegro on 1st-2nd June 2015,

Calls on the EFJ SC to revoke its decision on March 6, 2015 regarding the naming of Macedonia.

Presidium

2. Statements

The Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) on 2nd June, 2015 has adopted the following statements:

 

1. On the Alarming Situation of Freelance Journalism in Belarus

Tabled by the Belarus Association of Journalists

The Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), meeting in Budva, Montenegro on 2nd June 2015,

Noting the actual failure by the Belarusian official authorities to recognize the existence of freelance journalists, who do not cooperate constantly with any specific media, which creates a serious problem for media workers in Belarus;

Noting that the situation is particularly grave for the freelancers, who cooperate with foreign media, since they are not mentioned in the Belarusian legislation. According to the Belarusian law “On Mass Media”, “a mass medium’s journalist” has to be connected with a concrete editorial through labor or other contractual relations.” (http://law.by/main.aspx?guid=3871&p0=H10800427e) Freelance journalists are not entitled to receiving the required accreditation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and they suffer therefore regularly from the prosecution for their journalistic activity without accreditation.

Noting that since April 2014, the freelance journalists, who cooperate with foreign media, have been penalized 22 times for violation of Article 22.9 of the Administrative Code of the Republic of Belarus to the fines, which totaled more than 7,000€;

Believing that this kind of prosecution for the dissemination of information in foreign media is a gross violation of the standards of freedom of expression and violation of journalists’ rights.

Calls on the European Federation of Journalists and its Steering Committee:

  • to continue to express solidarity with freelance journalists in Belarus and support the struggle of the Belarusian Association of Journalists for the equality of rights of all journalists in the exercise of their professional activities;
  • to call on the Belarusian authorities to immediately cease pressure on freelance journalists, cooperating with foreign media, and in particular to abandon the practice of bringing them to administrative responsibility;
  • to call on the institutions of the Council of Europe, the OSCE, and the European Union to pay attention to violations of freedom of speech in Belarus related to the activities of freelance journalists and to take steps to remedy the situation.

 

2. On media freedom and labour rights in the Balkans

Tabled by the Trade Union Media of Montenegro

The Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), meeting in Budva, Montenegro on 2nd June 2015,

Noting the increased physical threats and intimidation against journalists and impunity in the Balkans;

Concerned about the increased lack of respect for journalists’ and media workers’ right by the employers on decent salaries, fair remuneration for freelances, trade union rights and the rights to collective bargaining;

Condemning the physical attack of the Croatian investigative journalist Željak Peratovica, who was beaten on the door step of his home. The attack took place a few days ago and the perpetrators have been found but there is still not a clear motive why the journalist was attacked.

Noting that because of investigative texts on suspicious activities of individuals from Montenegro eight years ago journalist Tufik Softic was brutally beaten and since then nothing has been done to reveal the perpetrators and the persons that ordered this. Two years ago in his backyard a bomb was thrown and this case is still not resolved. Softic is under constant police protection now since a year and a half.

Calls on the EFJ and its Steering Committee:

  • To request the Croatian government to speed up the investigation for the case of Željak Peratovica and to make sure that the perpetrators are punished;
  • To request the government of Montenegro to solve these cases and to make possible that journalists in Montenegro can work within a safe working environment;
  • To encourage national authorities to bring justice to journalists who are attacked and intimidated;
  • To support the EFJ affiliates from the region to organise collective activities including strikes to protect their rights, to call on media companies and employers to respect rigorously trade union rights, to provide proper working conditions and to respect fully the national labour laws and collective agreements where they exist, to urge media companies and employers to implement collective agreements in the media where they do not exist;
  • To put these issues to the European institutions, the Council of Europe, the International Labour Organisation and the UN Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression.

 

3. On the rights of the media to report

Tabled by National Union of Journalists (NUJ) Ireland

The Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), meeting in Budva, Montenegro on 2nd June 2015,

Noting that the High Court in Dublin will be asked on June 2 to make a determination on an application by The Irish Times newspaper and the public service broadcaster RTE on the right of the media to report on a matter discussed in the Irish parliament last week. The matter related to the alleged financial relationship between an Irish State owned bank IBRC and Denis O’Brien, who holds a controlling interest in a large number of media organisation in Ireland. Denis O’Brien is the most influential figure in the private media sector in Ireland, with a diverse range of global business interests.

As a result of a court order secured by Mr O’Brien RTE has been unable to broadcast a report on O’Brien and his dealings with the bank. This order has now been used to inhibit broadcast and publication of comments made in the Irish parliament by Deputy Catherine Murphy on matters of clear public interest. This is an unprecedented development.

Noting that the reporting of comments in the Irish parliament is covered by parliamentary privilege. The use of a court injunction in this manner has fundamental implications for freedom of the media and for the exercise of parliamentary democracy.

Noting that some media organisations chose to report the comments made by Deputy Murphy.

The National Union of Journalists has strongly defended the right of the media to report parliamentary proceedings and has been to the fore in highlighting the threat to media freedom.

The EFJ supports the NUJ in Ireland and those media organisations currently seeking to defend the right of the media to report on all matters of public interest. The right to report on parliamentary debate is fundamental and absolute.

The EFJ will continue to monitor developments.

 

4. Statement on public service broadcasting

Tabled by SNJ, SNJ-CGT, FNSI, NUJ, FAPE, FESP, SDRP, FSC-CCOO

The Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), meeting in Budva, Montenegro on 2nd June 2015,

Congratulates Greece, its people and its government on the recent announcement to reopen the ERT Public Service Broadcaster possibly by June 11.

Expressing its hope that the workers sacked by the previous government will be re-employed on their conditions at that time.

More than ever the Greeks need their radio and television for their public to be informed and to overcome the unjust crisis in which they are immersed.

The Public Broadcasting Services continue to be the target of austerity policies in several countries in Europe threatening the quality of information and pluralism.

In France, the scandals surrounding the appointment of the new CEO of France Télévisions by the Higher Audiovisual Council (CSA), the very serious crisis at Radio France and also the financial revelations that led to the resignation of the new president of the National Audiovisual Institute (INA), reflect the damaging political and economic context around the Public Media Service.

Overall austerity policies not only jeopardize the future of public service broadcasting, but also put at risk the jobs of employees while endangering pluralism, quality of content and therefore democracy.

In Spain, the government has reinforced its editorial control on RTVE influencing on how the CEO of RTVE is appointed by parliament. It is urgent to return to a consensual nomination, for both the Board of Directors of RTVE as its CEO becomes hostages of the majority party. The regional broadcasters that depend on regional governments follow the same pattern.

Calls on the EFJ to support the reopening of the Valencian channel RTVV-Channel 9, where there is no more public service in the majority language of the region (Valencia).

Calls on the EFJ and its affiliates to support the long struggle in other regional channels, especially in Telemadrid, where journalists and other employees are fighting against manipulation of information, lay-offs and poor salaries.

In the UK, the BBC is already under serious attack by the newly elected right wing Conservative government at a time when negotiations are about to begin over the new license fee. John Whittingdale, the new government minister with responsibility for the media, including the BBC is on record say the license fee is unsustainable. With the government proposing further austerity measures including cuts of around £ 12 billion in the welfare budget alone, it seems probable that the BBC license fee at best will be frozen again. This would mean twelve year without any increase threatening channel closures, reduction in quality home produced programs and more redundancies.

Meanwhile, Conservative party supporter Rupert Murdoch has recently increased the cost to subscribers of Sky TV. A full Sky package now cost more than £ 500 a year. The BBC license fee £ 145.50 or 40 pence a day.

In Italy, the promised reform to Rai by the Italian government caused concern among staff and the union. Today, the time for promises is over, it is actions that count. True reform must guarantee freedom of information and pluralism.

The independence of Rai and all European PSB must be preserved once and for all and their future should not depend on changes in government.

In Poland, more than 400 journalists and technicians in the public TV were laid off. They were then employed by a private company that is owned by the public company. Among the 400 media workers, more than 200 of them are fired.

In line with the approved motion presented to the EFJ annual meeting in November (Moscow), calls upon the EFJ to oppose to the shrinking of media pluralism in European PSB, as well as in defending its funding, independence, diversity and quality.

 

5. On Russian- Ukrainian Unions Dialogue

Tabled by RUJ, NUJU, IMTU

The Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), meeting in Budva, Montenegro on 2nd June 2015,

Confirming that the dialogue between Russian Union of Journalists, National Union of Journalists of Ukraine and Independent Media Trade Union of Ukraine for today is the important and sustainable bridge between journalists and professional organizations from two countries;

Recognizing that this cooperation between three EFJ/IFJ affiliates started during IFJ project on combating impunity. Meetings of union leaders and activists in IFJ/EFJ office in Brussels, in Kyiv and 6 gatherings in OSCE office of Representative for Freedom of the Media in Vienna showed that professional organizations act for the struggle for safety of journalists during conflict time. Such activities were realised in joined hot lines, monitoring of violence against journalists in conflict zones, joined statements, and regular information exchange, efforts to release detained journalists and other activities;

Noting that the series of problems arises during the coverage of the armed conflict in the East of Ukraine and events in the Crimea, violating professional standards of journalism, transforming journalism into propaganda, violating the safety standards by journalists;

Agrees in the necessity of the following activities:

  1. To support the Dialogue between IMTUU, NUJU and RUJ as the important experience of professional solidarity and cooperation and expand it into the other European countries – members of EFJ,
  2. To elaborate programs and projects developing main points of the dialogue, including combating propaganda and hate speech, open discussions and training sessions, based on the International professional standards, ethics and safety,
  3. To support monitoring of violence against journalists in two countries and regular reports,
  4. To develop special projects addressed to young journalists from the East and South-East Europe countries for the better cooperation and recognition of the professional and ethical standards.

 

6. On the critical developments in the Bulgarian National Radio

Tabled by the Bulgarian Union of Journalists

The Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), meeting in Budva, Montenegro on 2nd June 2015,

Noting and concerned by the critical events and developments in the Bulgarian National Radio (BNR);

Calling for a quick solution of the pending problems in the complicated situation;

Requesting that the requirements for a restriction of the staff expenditures, which are in compliance with the EU trends for cuts in the administration of the budget organizations and institutions, should be met by drafting and applying a particular economic model and an efficient compensating formula. We consider the BNR management’s actions which have practically led to opposing one part of the staff of the Bulgarian Radio to another as inadmissible.

Asking the competent Bulgarian authorities to intervene in an appropriate way to find a fair solution of the critical situation in BNR in the interest of all its journalists;

Expressing once again its firm support of the stand of the Union of Bulgarian Journalists’ Managing Board on the occasion of the critical events in BNR,

Confirms that the EFJ in close partnership with UBJ will continue to defend all rights of our colleagues, a decent pay for their work, which corresponds to the high social significance of the journalists’ profession.

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