Expert Group on Digital Media

At the General Meeting in Verviers (Belgium) in 2013, the EFJ adopted a resolution to form a new expert group that should focus on the topics online, cross-media workings and digitisation. The group, which was called at the beginning Converging Media Expert Group (CONEG) met only twice so far. At its last meeting it agreed to call itself "Expert Group on Digital Media (DEG)".

The group aims at getting concise data about:

Changing media landscape, is all media turning digital?;

Changing labour rights and working conditions of journalists working for digital media;

Changing union policy, services and recruitment policies for digital journalists

Important for EFJ affiliates is to know what members need when going digital, as employed or as freelance, as a young journalist starting or as a mid- career journalist or as an entrepreneur/self-employed. The group decided at its meeting on 25 June to conduct a survey in the countries where the group is present: Germany, Austria, UK, Italy, Spain, and if possible the Netherlands.

The survey has been circulated to all affiliates and is open to journalists' members and non- members: survey:

The EFJ will also try to influence the debate within the European Union  on the European digital agenda , which in its current form does not include working conditions and many other issues of great importance when it comes to digitisation.

DEG news


The future of news is linked to journalists’ working conditions

On 1st December, the Council of Europe’s Steering Committee on Media and Information Society (CDMSI) invited the EFJ, digital start-ups and media groups to discuss  “Media adaptation strategies and expectations” together with representatives of the Council of Europe government representatives. Rasmus Kleis Nielsen, Director of Research at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism of Oxford University, presented at the outset the results of a recent study on Challenges and opportunities for news media and journalism in an increasingly digital, mobile and social media environment –   prepared for the Council of Europe on this topic. “The move to an…


Rights and Jobs in Journalism: Building Stronger Unions in Europe – New handbook launched

In the past years, the media industry has undergone drastic changes due to the emergence of new technologies in the way news are produced and consumed as well as the structural changes driven by the economic crisis. Journalists’ organisations themselves also undergo changes to renew their commitment and strategies to counter new challenges. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) launched a handbook within the framework of a project, ‘‘Rights and Jobs in Journalism: Building Strong Unions in Europe’’, showcasing best practices of journalists’ organisations undertaken to tackle new challenges. The handbook was launched in a final conference held in Zagreb…

Photo of Panel 1 with Seamus Dooley Irish Secretary National Union of Journalists speaking

Irish government must restore freelance rights for collective barganing

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), joining its affiliate in Ireland the National Union of Journalists, is welcoming the decision of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to challenge Ireland’s failure to treat freelance workers in accordance with the rights enshrined in the organisation’s convention. Following a complaint by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) the Irish government faces questions at the ILO assembly in Geneva about the treatment of freelance workers, who are denied the right to be collectively represented by unions as a result of the actions of the former Competition Authority in Ireland. The complaint was lodged…

Credit : Nessa Childers office

#newsocracy: Safeguarding journalism & exploring owner influence.

(Dublin, 3rd June, 2016) The conference discussed the current state of journalism in Ireland and Europe and was hosted by MEP Nessa Childers from Ireland. Renate Schroeder outlined the threats on the independent status of journalists in Europe expressing great concern about the precarisation in the media as well the increasing attacks from both political and economic forces. Losing trust in journalism with journalists who no longer have time to check information or self-censor because of fear to lose the work or be attacked is the main challenge today, she told  about 100 participants in Dublin. NUJ Ireland General Secretary…

creators' Conference

Commission VP Ansip backs call for investigation on fair remuneration in EU copyright review

The Creators Conference 2016 concluded on Tuesday 31 after a productive day of panels, interviews and speeches by prominent artists, experts and policy makers discussing the current issues faced by the European creators’ community and the cultural and creative industries. The Authors’ Group welcomed European Commission Vice-President Andrus Ansip in charge of the Digital Single Market for a keynote speech in which the Commissioner confirmed the “need to look closer at the conditions for remunerating creators and getting a fair share of the value generated”. Vice-President Ansip also stressed the “follow the money approach” and “widening access to content” for consumers…


Cybersecurity II : Secure, protect, investigate

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) have successfully organised a 3-day training (25-27 May) in Leuven (Belgium) on Cybersecurity for journalists : Secure, protect, investigate. This was the second edition of a course organized 2015 along four days about Cybersecurity for journalists and with the same practical approach. The course aimed to facilitate technical skills to journalists helping them to protect themselves, their work and their sources. 13 journalists and / or unionists coming from 11 countries took part to the training, with an important participation of participants coming from countries of the…


Legalislative framework for investigative journalism need improvements

The Institute of European Media Law (EMR), consortium partner of the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF), has recently conducted a study on the state of media freedom and investigative journalism in Europe. The results published on 17 May 2016 show that restrictive rules for the development of press freedom remain a major obstacle in all countries. 1. Decriminalisation of journalism = Hungarian model Journalists might infringe the law while trying to obtain information. According to the report, all legal frameworks know limits to the freedom of obtaining information. Even though in many states courts take into consideration the importance of press freedom…


Improving social rights for atypical workers in culture and media sector

On 26-27 January, FIA (Actors’ Unions), FIM (musicians), UNI-Europa (media, entertainment & art) and the EFJ organised a workshop in Ljubljana and discussed how to better protect those categories of workers who do not enjoy any social and legal  protection. MEP Tanja Fajon gave a video key note speech reminding participants that all EU Member States are committed to provide social security for all workers, and that we all have to defend the European social model. She referred to the EP report on social protection for all including self-employed workers. The report asks the European Commission and Member States to…


Belarus fines freelance journalist for working with “foreign media”

Belarus continues its bad practice by handing over the first fine of the year on 13 January to freelance journalist, Larysa Shchyrakova, for working with “foreign media”.Following the ruling, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ) have called for an immediate appeal of the ruling and urged the government to scrap the existing law. Shchyrakova, was fined 4 620 000 Belarusian rubles (around 225 EUR) by the Homiel District Court for breaking Article 22.9 of Belarusian Code on Administrative Offenses which forbids freelance journalists in the country from working with foreign media outlets. With…


Webinar on authors’ rights for freelance journalists in Europe

Join us for a webinar (web conference) on Feb 10, 2016 at 12:00 PM GMT. Register now! If freelance journalists provide input to newsrooms , the question is always: Can I re-use the post also elsewhere with other clients with a different target audience? The question of which rights are established with reference to a journalistic work/contribution is regulated by intellectual property right /copyright law. Therefore, knowledge of the correct use of authors’ rights/copyright not only at national level but worldwide is crucial for freelance writers. Freelance journalist Mike Holderness works in London and is a long time activist in…


Union of Journalists in Finland’s freelance association celebrates 10th anniversary

The Finnish freelance association, which is part of the Union of Journalists in Finland (Suomen Journalistiliitto) on 9 November with more than 200 freelancers participating. The meeting will discuss new opportunities in the media including non-tradition media for freelances?  What is the future for the journalist profession? How to make work-related  changes? How to confront new challenges and find new solutions?  FREE10 seminar in December! The Finnish freelance journalists’ association celebrates its 10th anniversary at this event FREE10 Seminar Centre Lume, Sampo Hall in Helsinki 12.9.2015. The European Federation of Journalists and its Freelance Expert Group wish happy birthday and…


Highlights of EFJ Freelance Expert Group (FREG) meeting

On 19 November, the EFJ organised its biannual Freelance Experts’ Group (FREG) meeting, in which participants from 8 European countries discussed EFJ activities, national developments regarding freelance activities and ideas for the  future working programme to be adopted by next year’s EFJ General Meeting. Below is a snap shot of the main topics debated by the participants. EFJ issues & activities Results of the survey “Mapping Freelance Journalists” : Please click HERE for more information. The Rights and Jobs in Journalism EFJ project debriefing : The Dublin Freelance conference on atypical workers, which was organised in September 2015 by the National union of…


EFJ survey reveals disparities of freelancers’ social rights in Europe

A new survey launched by the European Federation of Journalists reveals the diversity of the freelancers’ professional situations and disparities of their labour rights’ protection in Europe. On 19th November, the EFJ had its biannual meeting with the Freelance Experts’ Group (FREG). Together, they discussed the results of the survey “Mapping Freelance Journalists” conducted since May by the EFJ to collect updated database regarding the social status of the freelance journalists and their representation in professional associations and unions in Europe. Thirty-three organisations from 28 countries have responded to the online questionnaire. The results reveal disturbing disparities between levels of freelancers…

Digitql zorkers

EFJ survey reveals precarious working conditions of journalists working for digital media in Europe

What kind of conditions, such as contracts or salaries are online journalists working under? Are they satisfied with their jobs? What needs to be improved and what role can the union play to enhance the working conditions of journalists in digital media? The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) has launched a survey aiming to get a better overview of their working conditions and ways to protect their interests through unions/associations.The survey reveals a dangerous trend where many online journalists face precarious working conditions. Among the 231 respondents, 62% said they worked overtime and over 50% of them do not have a full-time employment…


Tirana: Who is protecting journalists? Conference on Journalists Labour Conditions in SEE

Within the framework of  the #seemediapartnership, the Center for Independent Journalism, Romania in cooperation with the Albanian Media Institute organised a regional conference on journalists’ employment conditions in South Eastern Europe in Tirana last week. Together with EFJ affiliates from Bosnia, Bulgaria, Montenegro and future members from Albania and Kosovo, participants discussed an action plan on how to improve the situation of journalists in the Balkan including capacity building of journalists’ organisations, Social dialogue, improved legal and labour protection for all journalists independent of their employment relation. Independent judiciary, rules on media concentration but also media education/media literacy and funding…

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Employment and social security in the digital economy

On the invitation of Jutta Steinruck, German MEP and Rapporteur for the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs for the opinion on ‘Towards a Digital Single Market’, the EFJ participated in a conference on “Employment and social security in the Digital Single Market: Chances and Challenges”. “We may move towards a trend of casualisation threatening collective bargaining and freedom of association,with increasingly outsourced work”, warned Valerio de Stefano from the International Labour Organisation (ILO). The more important it is for unions to organise in the digital economy, to advocate for fundamental rights for all workers and for companies to be…

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EFJ meets with Thomas Händel, EP Chair on Employment and Social Affairs Committee

”Two weeks ago I would have been much more pessimistic when it comes to ‘Social Europe’, but it seems that the European Commission led by President Jean-Claude Juncker  is working on a package, which has a strong social dimension, something the EU has lacked dramatically in recent years,” said Thomas Händel (GUE/NGL, Germany), Chair of the European Parliament Committee on Employment and Social Affairs. Philippe Leruth, Chair of the EFJ Labour Rights Expert Group and EFJ Director Renate Schroeder had a open discussion with the German MEP Händel covering themes such as the increasingly precarious working conditions in the  media and journalism…

Journalists work on July 8, 2010 in Paris, in the editorial office of the investigative news website Mediapart created in 2008.  

EFJ Survey: how do online journalists work?

How do journalists work in digital media?? The EFJ asks this  question in a European-wide survey drafted by its Expert Group on Digital Media. The EFJ hopes to get a better overview about the working conditions of  “digital journalists” in EU member states and beyond.  How different are contracts, salaries and fees for online journalists? How is work satisfaction? What needs to be improved and what role can the union play to enhance working conditions of journalists working in digital media? Responses to these and many other questions are expected from this survey geared at journalists working for digital media…

Photo of Panel 1 with Seamus Dooley Irish Secretary National Union of Journalists speaking

EFJ calls for stronger rights for freelance workers

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) 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 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. Participants including unions leaders from the-above federations and legal…

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The deportation of Geerdink is a severe violation of fundamental rights

According the NVJ (Dutch Journalists Association, EFJ-IFJ affiliate), Frederike Geerdink, a Dutch correspondent based in Diyarbakir (Turkey), has today (10/09/2015) been deported by the Turkish authorities to Amsterdam after being detained two days for reporting on a Kurdish group protesting clashes between the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants and the Turkish military. The Turkish authorities are accusing the Dutch reporter of “hindering a military operation and supporting a terrorist organisation”. Frederike Geerdink lived Turkey since 2006 and has been based in Diyarbakir since 2012 where she writes about Turkish and Kurdish matters for Dutch and international media as well as a critical…

Freelance journalists

Belarus files 24 cases against freelance journalists in 2015

Working as freelance journalists can be considered as a crime in Belarus. Since the beginning of this year, the Belarusian authority has filed 24 cases (see infographic below) against freelance journalists imposing fines for their works. In all the cases, the journalists are accused of violating article 22.9 of the administrative code (unlawful production and distribution of mass media products). According to the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ), an affiliate of the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the total sum of the fines imposed on journalists so far this year amounted to 117 million Belarusian rubles (over 6.000 EUR). The EFJ…

Portuguese union_freelancers meeting_July 1 20115_photo by João Miguel Rodrigues

Freelance Survey in Portugal

In Portugal the EFJ affiliate, the Sindicato dos Jornalistas‘s newly elected board initiated a freelance campaign starting with a survey about the situation of freelance journalists in Portugal, something which had not been conducted since 2001. In Portugal, trade unions still regard freelances as a new and sometimes unaccepted work form. The union had asked its members registered as freelancers (almost 10% of the total membership) to answer an online questionnaire. The main results which were recently discussed within the membership (see picture above), are the following: Age: average age is 41; Gender: 61.3% are men; 38;7% are female Employment…


Recruiting freelance journalists: example from NUJ, Great Britain

As the media industry grows more freelances, so the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) in the UK and Ireland is trying to ascertain how to attract freelances into membership. The main question is: What services and benefits could the union offer to freelances that are not covered in our ’10 Reasons’ leaflet ? As everyone agrees, the priority for freelances in the current climate is to find work – work that pays! One of our members has suggested a Freelance Salon, an event with speakers who will discuss how to go beyond the traditional pitch to editors and navigate new…

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Sweden: New agreement signed for all freelance members

The EFJ affiliate in Sweden, Svenska Journalistförbundet, has announced the signature of a new collective agreement with Almega Medieföretagen covering all freelance journalists and media workers. “This agreement is an important step forward to strengthen the position of freelance journalists in Sweden,” said Jonas Nordling, President of the Swedish union of journalists. EFJ President, Mogens Blicher Bjerregård, quickly congratulated the Swedish colleagues for what he qualified as an “impressive collective agreement for all freelancers”. Impressive agreement for all #freelance in @journalistforb Sweden @EFJEUROPE #TradeUnion — Mogens B. Bjerregård (@mogensbb) July 1, 2015 It is important to note that the agreement covers all freelance…

Freelancers in Sweden protest against the double use zero pay policy at Sydsvenskan

The Svenska Journalistförbundet, Swedish affiliate of the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), organised on Wednesday (10/06/2015) in Malmö a protest against the double use zero pay policy affecting press photographers and freelance journalists working for the newspaper Sydsvenskan. The Swedish daily newspaper Sydsvenskan bought at the end of last year another newspaper Helsingborgs Dagblad and the management wants to re-publish all the material from freelancers (photographers and reporters) without any financial compensation for the authors. Since November 2014, the Swedish union has initiated the negotiations with the management of Sydsvenskan without any progress achieved so far. A concrete proposal was put on…


Belarus imposes more fines on freelance journalists

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) is extremely concerned by the increasing numbers of fines imposed on Belarusian freelance journalists for “illegal creation of mass media production” since April 2014. On June 1, the judge of the Dziarzhynsk district court Ina Shayko ruled against journalists Volha Chaychyts and Siarhei Krauchuk and demanded them to pay 310 EUR each (5 million 400 thousand rubles) for illegal production of mass media products. On June 3, the Lenin district court of Brest also fined journalist Alina Litvinchuk for double violations of Article 22.9 (illegal production and distribution of mass media products); the fine…

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Workshop: Developing services for atypical workers

A workshop on atypical workers organised by the International Federation of Actors (FIA) in cooperation with the Dutch actors’ union (FNV KIEM) within the joint project with the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), International Federation of Musicians (FIM) and UNI-MEI took place in Amsterdam on 20 May. The participants, union leaders from the creative and media sector, discussed the impact of the changing landscape for workers and the impact on their working conditions and union services across the European Union. Yvonne Dankfurt from the EFJ affiliate in the Netherlands(Nederlandse Vereniging van Journalisten – NVJ), outlined the programmes offered by NVJ…

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Unfair contracts are destroying journalists’ authors rights

In a meeting with Petra Kammerevert (MEP and SPD coordinator for media and cultural issues), Renate Schroeder (EFJ Director) and Michael Klehm (DJV senior advisor) discussed issues around media policy and media freedom, authors’ rights, spectrum policy, support for “entrepreneurial journalism”, TTIP, net neutrality and the revision of the audiovisual media framework. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) warned that unfair contracts, sometimes called “buy-out contracts”, destroy journalists’ authors’ rights. The EFJ delegation argued that the European Parliament’s “Reda report” on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society is harming the continental authors’ rights framework, in particular when…

inserat freie Journalisten

Austria: Journalists’ union (GPA-djp) demands fair play from media employers

Vienna: After the first bargaining round for a collective agreement in the daily and weekly newspaper sector, its supplements and editorial digital services for employed journalists, technical workers and freelances, there has not been any consensus with the Austrian Publishers Association (VÖZ). The chairman of the GPA-djp Franz C. Bauer said: There is a shadow over the positive agreement we negotiated last year with the employers. We had agreed that for the next bargaining round we would focus on freelances – our demand for a adequate rise of the fee per line was however refused by the employers.“ The next…


EFJ webinar on social security for freelance journalists in Europe

Join us for a webinar on April 21, 2015 at 12:00 AM CEST. Register now:! The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and its Freelance Expert Group (FREG) in cooperation with the Deutscher Journalisten-Verband (DJV) are organising another webinar, this time on social security for freelance journalists in Europe, a theme ever more important in times of increasing flexibility and decreasing social security. Ivan Declercq, freelance advisor of the Flemish journalist association (VVJ) will give some examples from European countries including Belgium, the Netherlands, France and Norway. The special system in Germany of the so-called Künstlersozialkasse (KSK) (artists’ social insurance)…

DEG members

Marta Barcenilla (Spain)
Lura Davison (UK & Ireland)
Tiago Dias (Portugal)
Peter Freitag (Germany)
Nadja Igler (Austria)
Mimoza Kociu (Albania)
Thomas Mrazek (Germany)
Riccardo Sorrentino (Italy)


Renate Schroeder
EFJ Director
+32 (0)2 235 22 02