Labour rights in South Eastern Europe
All evidence shows that strong unions and labour rights are prerequisites for journalists to guarantee quality journalism. This is the message I delivered in a high-level European conference (see below) on media freedom in Western Balkans and Turkey on 4 November in Brussels.
I stressed the importance of journalists’ labour rights, capacity building of journalists’ organisations and a long-term action plan to improve the working conditions of journalists and achieve media freedom in the region.
The European Commissioner in charge of neighbourhood policy, Mr. Johannes Hahn, also emphasied the vital role of media in the democractic developments of EU applicant countries. The EU should strengthen their efforts in empowering journalists and civil society organisations in the region as parts of its enlargement policy.
In cooperation with the International Federation of Journalists, the EFJ has in recent years made significiant progress to improve capacity of its unions in the region. The EFJ will continue to develop capacaty-building programmes to focus on recruitment, collective bargaining, fostering social dialogue between journalists and employers’ organisations. We will also continue to put pressure on governments to fight impunity for crimes against journalists and to ensure the safety of journalists.
To do this, we need to have a long-term perspective in order to develop a sustainable landscape for media and journalists in the region. EU politicians should transform their words into concrete actions.
In the upcoming EFJ General Meeting on 25 – 26 April 2015 in Sarajevo, we will discuss future work in the region.
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