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 and and cooperate with the Rory Peck Trust ;

•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

EFJ contributes to European Commission social pillar consultation

On 31st December 2016 the consultation of the European Commission on the European pillar of social rights ended. The EFJ has submitted its response focusing on the need for equal treatment for all workers independent of their employment contract. The consultation of the Commission follows a process of the European Commission that took off following the State of the Union speech of President Juncker in 2015. The public consultation contains a series of questions on the social situation and EU social “acquis”, the future of work and welfare systems and the European Pillar of Social Rights. The most pressing priorities as defined the…

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…

Meeting the challenge of atypical working – new handbook launched

The Media, Arts and Entertainment sector has seen significant changes in the structure of the labour market and in the organisation of work both within and outside the framework of the traditional employment relationships – with an established trend towards various forms of atypical working arrangements. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the International Federation of Actors (FIA), UNI MEI and the International Federation of Musicians (FIM) have today launched a handbook on ”The Future of Work in the Arts, Media & Entertainment Sector”, outlining conclusions and recommendations addressing atypical work in the Media, Arts and Entertainment sector. The launch…

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…

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