Labour Rights

The struggle to deal with the downside of globalisation is a challenge to journalists' unions everywhere. Media staff, like the workforce in every other sector of the world economy, are under pressure from voracious employers who are cutting editorial budgets, slashing jobs and undermining trade union organisations.

The struggle to deal with the downside of globalistation is a challenge to journalists' unions everywhere. Media staff, like the workforce in every other sector of the world economy, are under pressure from voracious employers who are cutting editorial budgets, slahing jobs and undermining terade union organisations.

In Europe, the labour rights of journalists continue to face threats from an increasing deregulated market and austerity measures. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) has established the Labour Rights Expert Group (LAREG) to develop strategies and provide tools for EFJ members to create strong trade unions and to negotiate collective agreement.

LAREG has launched a “Database in Progress”, which comprises labor terms and remuneration data for journalists working in European countries. The conference on Equal Rights for Journalists, held in Thessaloniki in 2012, was the starting point of an effort to document innovative practices for unions.

In the coming years, the Group will implement the following actions as adopted by the EFJ Annual Meeting in Verviers, Belgium 2013:

Lobby for laws to reinforce the labour rights of journalists

Reinforce information exchange among EFJ members

Involve all EFJ members in LAREG especially those in the Central and Eastern European countries

Mainstream labour rights issues in all media issues (i.e. ethics, pluralism, press freedom)

Cooperate with the EFJ Freelance Expert Group on issues that arise from the new forms of employment

Implement recommendations on developing global strategy with the IFJ and the International Labour Organisation and training programmes, integrating all media workers in unions

Collective Toolbox

The EFJ Collective Toolbox gathers the latest developments on labour rights, best practices for collective bargaining or new campaigns to strengthen the labour rights of journalists. We have gathered together all the information mentioned above from our affiliates and provided a range of informative tools and tips to get the most out of collective agreements for journalists.

Labour Rights News


Violence against journalists has increased in Western Balkans

Number of attacks against journalists has increased in last few years. What causes even more worries is the fact that physical attacks and violence against journalists has increased too. That was pointed out at the opening of two-day conference held in Belgrade on 6th and 7th December 2016 on Media Freedom and Security of Journalists in Western Balkans. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) has been invited to take part to the event. The conference was organized by the Independent Association of Serbian Journalists (NUNS) as the part of the project Regional Platform for Advocating Media Freedom and Security of Journalists…


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…

Police officers investigate the area where three women were killed in a restaurant in Imatra, Eastern Finland on December 4, 2016.
A gunman shot dead three women, including a local council official, as they were leaving a restaurant in a small Finnish town on Saturday night, police said. / AFP PHOTO / Lehtikuva / Hannu RISSANEN / Finland OUT

Two journalists and a local politician killed in Finland shooting

Two journalists and a local politician were shot dead with a rifle outside a restaurant in the small Finnish town of Imatra at around midnight on Saturday night. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) today called on the authorities in Finland to conduct a swift investigation of the killings. The chairwoman of Imatra Town Council and two local reporters were gunned down in a pedestrian area outside a restaurant in the town just before a police patrol car arrived to the scene around midnight Saturday. A 23-year-old local man with a criminal record was detained at the scene, but the motive for the…


Social media need “self-regulation, education and literacy, not new restrictions”, says Dunja Mijatović in a report

The Representative on Freedom of the Media of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), Dunja Mijatović, published today her regular report to the Permanent Council from March 2016. She expressed great concerns about the safety of journalists and fake news on social media. Here are some excerpts. On the safety of journalists: As you all know, unfortunately safety of journalists continues to dominate my agenda. Impunity for killings, attacks and threats prevails. This must stop. In order to assist the participating States in monitoring progress on fighting impunity for killings of journalists my Office has prepared a…


Turkey: Organising journalists under the state of emergency

The regional meeting of EFJ-IFJ affiliates from the Balkans and Eastern Europe successfully took place in Istanbul on 29-30 November 2016. The meeting was hosted by the Journalists Union of Turkey (TGS) and the Istanbul office of the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) who are financially supporting the event with the Swedish Union To Union global trade union programme. The gathering of more than 10 international journalists representatives showing solidarity under the state of emergency with so many journalists in jail (over 120), under prosecution (thousands), without job (over 10.000) was warmly welcomed by the colleagues and local media.   The event has primarily focused on…


The Russian Union of Journalists committed to stop gender-based violence in Russia

On November 28, the Russian Union of Journalists (RUJ), together with the United Nations agencies in Russia and the Centre for gender and media studies of Moscow State University, organised a round table focused on “Russian journalists in UN: Combating gender-based violence”. This event took place in the Moscow Journalist Club and gathered experts, journalists and human rights activists. It followed the International Federation of Journalists action to mark UN Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls on 25 November. Nadezda Azhgikhina, vice-president of the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and member of the IFJ Gender council, presented a…


8 tips for migration coverage

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) has been invited by the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) to attend the 10th edition of the Civil society media seminar held at the Diplomatic Academy on 24-25 November 2016 in Vienna. The seminar gathered over 190 experts (policy makers, journalists, social workers, law enforcement officers, refugees, professors) and was dedicated this year to the topic “Communicating Migration”.  EESC President Georges Dassis said :”Europe’s reconstruction is greatly due to migrants’ contributions. Over the past two years, media have played a big role in our perception of the migration flows. It is thus necessary to mention the benefits…


EU Parliament Resolution to tackle anti-EU Propaganda comes under criticism from journalists

Propaganda pressure on the EU from Russia and Islamist terrorist groups is growing, the European Parliament warned in a non-legislative resolution voted on Wednesday. To counteract so-called anti-EU campaigns, MEPs suggested reinforcing the EU’s “strategic communication” task force and investing more in awareness raising, media literacy, online and local media as well as investigative journalism. The resolution calls on EU member states to boost funding for counter-propaganda projects. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) is not convinced by this controversial resolution. A total of 691 MEPs participated in the vote: 304 (44%) voted in favor of the resolution dubbed “EU…


German journalists concern over media concentration due to newspapers takeover

Journalists and their unions in Germany expressed concerns over the sale of newspaper Donaukurier to the larger publishing house Passauer Neue Presse (PNP). The Bavarian Journalists’ Association, a member of the German Federation of Journalists (DJV) warned that the deal will result in further media concentration and uncertainty for the journalists  working at both Donaukurier and PNP. In response to this development, the journalists’ unions in Germany including DJV, (dju) in ver.di and BJV will organise a protest on Saturday 24 November in the Passauer Fußgängerzone, Bahnhofstr. 2-4 (in the City Gallery). The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) supports the action…


EU colloquium called on Commission to protect whistleblowers

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) attended on 17-18 November 2016 the second edition of EU colloquium on fundamental rights dedicated this year to media pluralism and democracy. Hosted by Frans Timmermans, the European Commission’s first vice-president said in his opening speech that “being a journalist has become one of the most dangerous professions worldwide. Being a journalist is dangerous because of the physical dangers, it’s dangerous because of all the abuse you get all the time – online and elsewhere – it’s dangerous also because you take huge risks with the sustainability of your finances since it also is…


Dataharvest 2017, the European investigative journalism conference

The EFJ is encouraging to register for the Dataharvest/EIJC, the European Investigative Journalism Conference organised by, the most relevant networking event for investigative and data journalists in Europe. Dataharvest/EIJC 2017 will take place on Thursday 18, Friday 19, Saturday 20 and Sunday morning 21 May 2017 in Mechelen (Belgium). Conference hashtag is #EIJC17. register at :  Dataharvest EIJC was first organised in 2011, when some 30 journalists gathered in Brussels to exchange best practices and story ideas. In 2012, the number of participants more than doubled to about 95, a number that increased even further to 150 in 2013, 194…


Stop impunity, nobody should be free to kill journalists

by Mogens Blicher Bjerregård, EFJ President 827 journalists were killed during the last decade and paid the ultimate price for exercising their job. An appalling and worrying fact documented by the biannual report from the Director General at UNESCO. The safety of journalists and fighting impunity was on top of the agenda during the UNESCO IPDC Council meeting, 17th-18th November 2016 in Paris. IPDC is an UNESCO program for safety of journalists, press freedom and media development. As the representative of Denmark, I delivered the following speech: Eight hundred and twenty seven, 827 journalists, have been killed since 2006. This is…


ETUC says new research shows need for EU whistleblower protection law

The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) issued today a press release calling for an EU-wide whistleblower protection. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) is a member organisation of the ETUC and fully supports the following statement. The EFJ is encouraging individuals and organisations to sign its petition on the issue. The EU can and should do a lot more to protect workers who come forward and blow the whistle on wrongdoing. Legal protection for whistleblowers throughout  the EU is a complicated maze of protections and the various civil liability laws mean that some people may be penalised and held personally liable…


Panama: IFJ/EFJ urge to release Dutch journalist detained over fraud and corruption reports

The International and European Federations of Journalists, IFJ and EFJ, together with their affiliate the Dutch Journalists Association (NVJ), have called for the immediate release of a Dutch journalist who faces a 20-month jail sentence. Dutch journalist Okke Ornstein was detained and arrested upon arriving at Panama’s Tocumen International Airport on 15 November. He is facing a 20-month sentence for libel and slander in relation to articles he posted on his blog about the alleged dubious business activities of a Canadian citizen, Monte Friesner, in Panama. The unions claim the libel and slander claims are baseless. The substantive aspects of…


Internet freedom around the world declined in 2016

Freedom on the Net 2016 report published by Freedom House : Key Findings •Internet freedom around the world declined in 2016 for the sixth consecutive year. •Two-thirds of all internet users – 67 percent – live in countries where criticism of the government, military, or ruling family are subject to censorship. •Social media users face unprecedented penalties, as authorities in 38 countries made arrests based on social media posts over the past year. Globally, 27 percent of all internet users live in countries where people have been arrested for publishing, sharing, or merely “liking” content on Facebook. •Governments are increasingly…

A general view shows the House of Lords chamber in session at the Houses of Parliament in London on September 5, 2016 during which Norman Fowler, the new Lord Speaker, speaks. 
The House of Lords is the upper house of the UK parliament.  / AFP PHOTO / POOL / Kirsty Wigglesworth

UK Investigatory Powers Bill threatens journalistic sources and whistleblowers

The International and European Federation of Journalists, (IFJ) and (EFJ), joined their UK affiliate, The National Union of Journalists (NUJ), in strongly condemning the Investigatory Powers Bill, which threatens the right to privacy, freedom of expression and investigative journalism, giving the Government sweeping spying powers. The new law gives the UK one of the most extreme spying powers in the developed world whose impact will be felt around the world. Under the “national security” pretext, the bill, which was passed by the House of Lords on 17 November will force internet and phone companies to store their users’ browsing data…


Majority of EU citizens think media lack independence

The results of the 2016 Eurobarometer survey on “Media pluralism and independence” published today (17/11/16) – just in time with the EU Annual Colloqium on Fundamental rights on “Media pluralism and democracy” – show two worrying trends: a majority of EU citizens believe that the media in their countries lack independence ; and 75% of the respondents have experienced hate speech on social media. This survey aims at representing the state of media pluralism and independence across the European Union. The results highlight that, according to the Europeans, there is much work to be done in ensuring the independence of national media – a vital cornerstone of…


EBU Conference urges Parliaments to protect PSM independence

Over 100 delegates from 19 countries in Central & Eastern Europe (CEE) and beyond came together in Prague last week to discuss the need to protect the independence and sustainability of public service media (PSM) in the face of numerous challenges. The conference was hosted by the Czech Parliament in Prague, and organized by the Council of Europe, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Czech Television and the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). Public service broadcasters, Parliamentarians, regulators, diplomats, academics and experts from a range of organisations including the Council of Europe, Venice Commission, OSCE and the European Federation of…


Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muižnieks reiterates his commitment on media freedom

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) held a meeting on 9 November with the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muižnieks and his team at the EFJ headquarters in Brussels. The two teams discussed current threats to media freedoms in Europe especially the situation in Turkey and abuses of defamation laws against journalists in EU countries. EFJ General Secretary Ricardo Gutiérrez presented the main challenges and projects the EFJ is currently working on, namely the independence and the strengthening of public service broadcasting in Eastern Europe and the Balkans, the oppressive emergency situation in Turkey and the increase of self-censorship and hate speech in the…


President Juncker joined trade union debate on future of Europe

The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) welcomed European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker for a discussion on the future of Europe with trade union leaders from all EU countries. The discussion took place yesterday, in Brussels, during an extraordinary Executive Committee meeting of the ETUC. The European Federation of Journalists was represented by its General Secretary, Ricardo Gutiérrez. The ETUC believes a wide debate on the future of Europe is desperately needed due to the growing lack of trust in the EU caused by high unemployment and poverty, Brexit, terrorism, the failure to deal effectively with the refugee emergency, and growing…


Media Pluralism monitor now in 30 countries: worrying results

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) was invited to the Final conference on “The Application of the Media Pluralism monitor (MPM2016) in 30 countries in Florence on 4 November. The preliminary, but almost finished results, gave some alarming trends, in particular when it comes to the journalistic profession including access, the role of unions and associations in protecting journalists, working conditions, safety and protection of sources. In Florence, #MPM2016 preliminary results show a range of risks for journalists working in Europe, particularly in S&SE Europe @CmpfEui — JOURNALISM AT MDX (@JRNatMDX) November 4, 2016 The Media Pluralism Monitor 2016…


Expertalia: A tool for journalists to diversify sources

The Belgian Association of Professional Journalists (AJP), a member of the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) launched a web tool Expertalia, an expert directory for media professionals with the aim to diversify media sources in media reporting. The initiative, supported by the Federation Wallonia-Brussels, aims to bring more equality and diversity in the use of experts by the media. Expertalia is a tool targeting at journalists with the aim to renew their sources of information by offering new experts from a diverse background. To date, Expertalia lists 200 experts in various fields (science, law, economics, society, etc), active in research,…

A man reads a copy of the latest edition of the Turkish daily newspaper "Cumhuriyet"  during a demonstration outside the newspaper's headquarters in Istanbul on November 2,2016.
Turkish police on November 1, 2016, detained the editor-in-chief of the newspaper Cumhuriyet -- a thorn in the side of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan -- as Ankara widens a crackdown on opposition media. The Cumhuriyet, which had published revelations embarrassing for the government, said at least a dozen journalists and executives were detained in early morning raids. The raids came after authorities fired more than 10,000 civil servants at the weekend and closed 15 pro-Kurdish and other media outlets, the latest purge since July's failed military coup aimed at ousting Erdogan. / AFP PHOTO / YASIN AKGUL

Turkey: international coalition slams Cumhuriyet arrests, media closures

Today, the European and International Federations of Journalists (EFJ and IFJ) joined a coalition of international media freedom organisations led by the International Press Institute (IPI), in condemning the closure of 15 pro-Kurdish media outlets and the arrests of Cumhuriyet journalists in a joint letter to Turkish officials. The letter called for government to cease abusing state of emergency decrees to restrict freedom of expression and for the immediate release of the detained Cumhuriyet journalists, as well as all other writers and journalists jailed in Turkey for exercising their right to freedom of expression. The letter can also be downloaded…


Albanian journalists barred from attending media commission hearing

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) together with its affiliate, the Association of Professional Journalists (APJ) in Albania expresses firmly its disappointment and concern for failed Commission hearing in the Albanian Parliament. The session was planned for today, where a hearing was organised at the Commission of the media with the former director of the TV Channel A1News. Alida Tota, who was sacked due to an investigative report made last August. The investigation was about the tragic death of a 17-year-old man Ardi Gjoklaj, who was illegally working at a landfill under supervision of the Municipality of Tirana. The Association…

Protesters hold a sign reading "We are here for Cumhuriyet" during a protest in front of opposition Cumhuriyet newspaper in Istanbul on October 31, 2016 after a police operation at the daily's headquarters. 
Turkish police detained the editor-in-chief of the opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet, state media reported. According to CNN Turk, 13 arrest warrants were issued for journalists and executives from the daily. The Istanbul prosecutor said an investigation had been launched into allegations the paper's output was "legitimising" the July 15 failed coup. / AFP PHOTO / OZAN KOSE

New wave of arrests targeting daily Cumhuriyet in Turkey

UPDATE 05.11.2016 – The Turkish court sent this morning 9 executives and columnists of Cumhuriyet newspaper to prison : Murat Sabuncu, Kadri Gürsel, Musa Kart, GürayÖz, Mustafa Kemal Güngör, Turhan Günay, Hakan Kara, Önder Çelik and Bülent Utku. All 9 @cumhuriyetgzt journos jailed in #Turkey We denounce these political decision with strong indignation #FreeTurkeyJournos #FreeKadri — Erol Önderoglu (@ErolOnderoglu) November 5, 2016 The European and International Federations of Journalists (EFJ/IFJ) today condemned the new wave of media repression by Turkish authorities following the detention of Murat Sabuncu, editor-in-chief of the newspaper Cumhuriyet, arrested this morning together with 15 other media staff of the newspaper. They are accused of assisting the so-called Fethullahist…


Croatia: CJA president escaped an accident after his car appeared to have been deliberately sabotaged

On 27 October, the president of the Croatian Journalists’ Association (CJA), Saša Leković, escaped a serious road accident after his car appeared to have been tempered with. He was driving on a motorway when his car started shaking and swerving. He was able to stop the car and found out that the right front wheel was twisted and two screws were half-sawed. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) denounces this apparent criminal act and joins its affiliate, the CJA, in calling on to the authorities to investigate and adequately respond to the incident . This event follows many threats against CJA president and other CJA members and…


Turkish government shuts down 15 Kurdish media outlets

The Turkish government issued on Saturday 29 October a decree shutting down 15 Kurdish media outlets: 11 newspapers, two news agencies and three magazines. The latest closures bring the number of media outlets shut down under state of emergency in Turkey to 168. The Turkish government declared a state of emergency on 20 July, following the failed coup attempt on 15 July. This situation allows the government to close any media organization by issuing a cabinet decree. Here is the list of media outlets targeted by the decree issued on Saturday: Newspapers: Özgür Gündem, Azadiya Welat, Batman Çağdaş , Cizre Postası…


EFJ and IFJ condemn threats on journalist in Kosovo

The International and European Federations of Journalists today called on the authorities in Kosovo to guarantee effective protection of journalist Leonard Kerquki who has received threats. Leonard Kerquki, editor-in-chief of online portal Gazeta Express in Kosovo, has been receiving death threats after his report on war crimes during the conflict between Kosovo and Serbia was premiered on the website on 23 October. The documentary he directed addresses a sensitive aspect of the Kosovo war: the war crimes of the Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK) against Serbian and Bosniak minorities. Leonard Kerquki began receiving threats on Monday 24 October 2016 on the…


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…


Enforcing labour rights for journalists in South East Europe and Turkey

Enforcing labour rights and improving working conditions for journalists remain challenging in South East Europe and Turkey, as concluded in the Labour Rights Expert Group meeting of the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) on 26 October in Zagreb. The meeting is partly funded by the UNESCO as part of the project “Building trust in the media in South East Europe and Turkey” that enables labour rights experts from the region to exchange views with their colleagues. Erisa Zykaj, journalist and representative from the Association of Professional Journalists of Albania (APJA) said that the enforcement of labour rights is yet to…

Labour Rights Expert Group

Tamara Chausidis (Macedonia)
Renate Gensch (Germany)
Rainer Reichert (Germany)
Yannis Kotsifos (Greece)
Seamus Dooley (UK & Ireland)
Raffaele Larusso (Italy)
Marta Barcenilla (Spain)
Nathalie Weber (Switzerland)
Erisa Zykaj (Albania)
Manuel Mediavilla (Spain)
Sofia Branco (Portugal)


Yuk Lan Wong
Policy & Project Officer
T: +32 2 2352 226