Freelance journalism

Freelance journalism is no longer an "atypical" form of work. In many countries the majority of journalists are freelancers. Many are journalists who would prefer traditional employment and have been forced into what we call "fake freelance" positions by employers who break local rules on employment by using freelances to fill full-time posts while avoiding state welfare and social charges.

Some appreciate the freedom, variety and flexibility of independent employment and feel it is increasingly the natural mode of work for journalists. The challenge of a freelance future is a test for journalists' unions in Europe and around the world.

Contracts and fees, training, authors' rights, and professional standards are all key issues for the freelance community of journalists. Innovative financing models, which can give freelance journalists new possibilities/niches in media, are being explored by the EFJ and its affiliates. The EFJ Freelance Expert Group recently organised a webinar on entrepreneurial journalism.

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) Authors' Rights Expert Group (AREG) and the Freelance Experts' Group (FREG) strive to defend and to promote freelance rights. We say to our staff colleagues: in order to defend your rights and conditions of work, you can do nothing more effective than to promote the highest standards for freelances.

The Freelance Experts’ Group’s focus for the coming years’ is based on the EFJ’s working programme:

•Relaunch the Charter of Freelance Rights and promote it at national and European level;

•Continue to organise webinars on issues important to European freelances;

•Organise training seminars, including on safety, if funding is available, with the help of EFJ secretariat;

•Collect information on business models and new ways on how freelance journalism is paid for;

•Monitor EU legislation and advocate for protection of freelance working conditions and decent fees, the right to organise freelances in trade unions and the right to do collective bargaining including for freelances;

•Support the EFJ Unfair contract campaign;

•Consider recruitment of freelance journalists in all media as an important angle in all discussions (see EFJ project work);

•Support journalists' organisations in fighting for equal rights including accreditation throughout Europe, with a recent focus on Belarus (Get Freelancers into Law

Freelance 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…

Freelance Rights Expert Group

John Toner (Great Britain)
Judith Reitstätter (Austria)
Nadezda Azhgikhina (Russia)
Frank Biermann (Germany)
Ivan Declercq (Belgium)
Michael Hirschler (Germany)
Bruno Horta (Portugal)
Nicola Chiarini (Italy)
Pablo Aiquel (France)
Andrus Klikunou (Belarus)
Natacha Lopez (Sweden)
Manuel Mediavilla (Spain)
Marcelo Ortega (Spain)
Helle Tiikmaa (Estonia)
Vincent Triest (Albania)
Anette Andresen (Norway)


Renate Schroeder
+ 32 (0)2 235 22 02