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 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


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…

Collective bargaining for all, Ljubljana, 17 – 18 March

In the framework of the two-year project “Rights and Jobs in Journalism”, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) together with its affiliate, the Slovene Association of Journalists, will organise a workshop “Collective bargaining and freelancers : collective bargaining for all” in Ljubljana, 17-18 March. This upcoming workshop will focus on the need to better protect freelance journalists through collective agreements. while the need of cooperation between freelances and employed journalists continues to grow, best practice from affiliates about common campaigns/activities between staff and freelances shall be show-cased. REGISTRATION Please submit your registration form online before 29 January 2016. Your participation will be confirmed by the…

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…