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


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…

Freelance Rights Expert Group

Co-Chair John Toner (Great Britain)
Co-Chair Judith Reitstätter (Austria)
EFJ steering committee link Urs Thalmann (Switzerland)
Frank Biermann (Germany)
Ivan Declercq (Belgium)
Michael Hirschler (Germany)
Bruno Horta (Portugal)
Felix Iglesias (Spain)
Patrick Kamenka (France)
Andrei Klikunou (Belarus)
Natacha López (Sweden)
Nicola Chiarini (Italy)
Martine Rossard (France)
Toralf Sandaker (Norway)


Renate Schroeder
+ 32 (0)2 235 22 02