European Federation of Journalists

Focus : Positive steps in promoting professional rights of journalists

2015 has been a year for the EFJ to focus on core union work. We have achieved positive steps in promoting professional rights of journalists and jobs in journalism, developing union recruitment strategies and enforcing the safety of journalists. READ MORE


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  18 December 2015   


2015 has been a year for the EFJ to focus on core union work. We have achieved positive steps in promoting professional rights of journalists and jobs in journalism, developing union recruitment strategies and enforcing the safety of journalists.

On authors’ rights, we have made positive influence to enforce authors’ rights over the European Digital Single Market policy driven by the European Commission. We pushed for strong authors’ rights through fair contracts and collective bargaining that can ensure remuneration for journalists.  We insisted that intermediaries like aggregators and telecommunication companies shall contribute to the production of content. Strong partnership has been built with creators’ organisations in Europe. The cooperation will be enhanced in 2016 as a joint  creators’ conference will be launched on 31 May 2016.

Meanwhile, the crisis in the media with job cuts and deteriorating working conditions remain the major challenges for many journalists across Europe. Despite this, the EFJ has developed programmes focusing on labour rights and union organising to support courageous union leaders. Especially in Eastern Europe  where trade union leaders risk losing their jobs to defend the rights of journalists.  Decent working conditions is a prerequisite for high quality of journalism. We will continue to defend these rights.

On a broader context, we are also active on issues affecting media freedom such as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and EU policies on trade secrets, whistle-blowers, and transparency. On media policy, we continue to promote the self-regulatory system and the work of press councils to ensure freedom and ethics in the media.

This year, the safety of journalists has become a growing concerning for the EFJ.  We work with the IFJ on this issue and continue the campaign to free jailed journalists. This fight won’t stop until the perpetrators are brought to justice and journalists can work freely without fear.

To have impact on our work, recruitment and union organising are key elements to build stronger unions. Our project “Rights and Jobs in Journalism” supported by the EU provided the EFJ with resources to strengthen our capacities to service our unions and defend the rights of journalists.

In 2016, we will hold our General Meeting in Sarajevo where journalists in the Balkans face declining labour rights, job insecurity and union organising. We will be there to support our colleagues and raise the standards of media freedom in the country for it to comply with the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.

With a focused agenda ahead, we shall continue this momentum in 2016. I wish you all a fruitful year ahead!

                                                     Mogens Blicher Bjerregård
EFJ President

Slovenia rejects charges for FoI requests after journalists’ protest

(14/12/2015) Following the protest of the EFJ, the Association of Slovenian Journalists, Transparency International Slovenia and Access Info Europe, the Slovenian coalition parties decided to remove the problematic amendment to Article 24 of the new Freedom of Information Act from the legislative procedure. On Tuesday 15 December, the Slovenian Parliament held a second discussion on the controversial amendment to the Access to Public Information Act  that was filed by coalition parties SD, SMC and DeSUS to legalise a practice by public officials to charge individuals and organisations for their freedom of information requests. However, before the parliament discussion, the EFJ together with its affiliates wrote to members of the parliament protesting the amendment and demanded that it has to be removed. 

Russia labels leading Russian Freedom group  ‘Foreign Agent’

(02/12/2015) The EFJ criticised the Russian government’s recent decision to add the Glasnost Defense Foundation (GDF), a Russian media non-governmental organisation, to the Justice Ministry’s list of so-called “foreign agents”.

The labelling of GDF follows a 2012 law which requires Russian-based NGOs that receive funding from abroad and engage in “political activity” to register as “foreign agents”.

Journalists and NGOs are facing increasing pressure and government scrutiny in recent years. Earlier this year, the Mass Media Defense Centre, which specializes in legal support for prosecuted journalists, was also put on the list.

Polish media reform to exert more control on public service broadcaster

(15/12/2015) The EFJ expressed growing concerns over recent announcements by the newly elected government to introduce a new law on public media in the coming months with the aim to exert more control on public service broadcasting media and to “repolonise” print media.

In a recent interview, Mr Glinski announced that a new media law shall be adopted in the next two months in order to “transform” the public media. This law shall transform public service television (TVP), public service radio (PR)  including 17 regional radio programmes and the national press agency (PAP) into “national cultural institutions”, in fact under the control of the Culture Minister. The European Broadcasting Union has also expressed its concern in an open  letter to the Prime Minister of Poland.

European Policy


“Protect freedom of speech and promote investigative journalism”

(03/12/2015) “Protect freedom of expression online and promote investigative journalism” this is a call made by the EFJ General Secretary Ricardo Gutiérrez at the CoE Parliamentary Assembly Media Commission in Paris.

The first hearing concerned the motion for a resolution of the Georgian MP Chiora Taktakishvili (ALDE) to enhance collaboration between parliaments and investigative media and to further combat corruption. The second hearing focused on a proposed resolution on freedom of expression on the internet written by the Armenian MP Arpine Hovhannisyan (PPE). Addressing the audience, Gutiérrez emphasised that “there is no miracle” unless member states take actions to establish an environment to allow independent journalism to flourish. 


EFJ hails positive changes to draft Trade Secrets directive: clear exemption for journalists

The tripartite negotiations between the European Parliament, the Council of Ministers and the European Commission on the draft directive on trade secrets may finally come to an end. After months of intensive lobbying efforts with media organisations ENPA, EMMA, EBU and RsF, an agreement is reached to set a clear and explicit exception for journalists in the directive by deleting the conditions of “legitimate use” in Article 4(2). The positive outcome is a result of a series of meetings with European parliamentarians who are responsible for the directive as well as permanent representations of the member states in the Council including Luxembourg, France, United Kingdom, Denmark and the Netherlands.

The latest draft Directive has yet to be approved by the Permanent Representatives Committee of the Council of the EU. It should then be voted by the European Parliament in spring 2016. The EFJ and its affiliates will have pay close attention to how EU member states transpose this European Directive in order to make sure it does not lead to further restrictions on media freedom.Contact:

EU agrees draft pan-European data privacy rules

The agreement, four years in the making, comes after six months of “trilogue” negotiations between the European Commission, the European parliament and the Council of the European Union, in the last legislative session of the year. The EFJ together with media organisations had lobbied for a directly applicable and legally binding exemption for journalistic data processing and the protection of confidential sources.

Article 80 on “Processing of personal data and freedom of expression and informationÏ” says that Member States shall provide for exemptions or derogations.. if they are necessary to reconcile the right to the protection of personal data with the freedom of expression and information.

Ensuring a fair digital single market : independence of media regulators

(07/12/2015)  A debate took place on the revision of the Audio-Visual Media Services Directive (AVMSD) and the independence of media regulatory authorities hosted by the European Parliament by MEP Sabine Verheyen on 7 December.
The debated focused on the important role of independent media regulators to ensure media pluralism and independence. Participants highlighted that current EU law is far from effective in ensuring media independence and pluralism as there is no obligation for member states to implement measures in this area. Lorena Boix Alonso, Head of Unit at the European Commission responsible for converging media and content presented some of the outcomes of a recent consultation which points to the need to establish measures to ensure the independence of media regulators in member states. According to the results of the consultation, over 60% respondents expressed that it is necessary for the EU to lay down requirement on member states for the independence of regulatory authorities.


European Commission reveals plans on copyright reform

(09/12/2015) (09/12/2015) The European Commission published a proposal for the review of the current EU copyright law detailing its action plans for the coming years in the area of copyright and authors’ rights related issues. Among others, the Commission communication points in particular at the need for  fair remuneration of authors and performers, “who can be particularly affected by differences in bargaining power when licensing or transferring their rights”. It refers to current mechanisms which authors and performers raised in this context including  the regulation of certain contractual practices, unwaivable remuneration rights, collective bargaining and collective management of rights.

 Don’t miss! EFJ Workshops  

Collective bargaining for all, Ljubljana, 17 – 18 March

In the framework of the two-year project “Rights and Jobs in Journalism”, 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 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. Esther Lynch (Eropean Trade Union Congress), legal labour law expert, John Hendy, and German MEP, Jutta Steinruck, will speak in the workshop.

Registration is open for all EFJ members. If you are interested, please register online before 29 January

Project management for trade union

The EFJ together with the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) will organise a four-day workshop on project management from 23 to 26 February 2016 in Zagreb, Croatia. The workshop is hosted by the EFJ member, the Croatia Journalists’ Association and the Croatian Union of Journalists.

The workshop targets at project officers or managers at unions and associations who implement projects funded by the EU with the overall aim to improve their skills and capacities in project management and developing projects for the future to carry out their programmes. To register, please complete the registration form and send it back to before the deadline.

   30 – 31 May  2016 Brussels  
EFJ Authors’ Rights workshop & Creators’ Conference,

At the height of the debate on the EU Digital Single Market, the EFJ together with the European Writers’ Council (EWC), the Federation of European Film Director (FERA) and the Federation of Screenwriters of Europe (FSE) organise a European conference to spotlight the challenges facing authors. High-level speakers including EU policy makers and authors will be invited. 

Following the conference, the EFJ will organise a workshop as part of the Rights and Jobs in Journalism project to highlight the unfair contractual conditions facing journalists and to find ways to improve the contractual conditions and authors’ rights protection.

EFJ members will be invited to both events. More information regarding the programme and registration will be made available in January. 


EU crisis should not lead to complacency towards Turkey’s responsabilities

(15/12/2015) Europe must not keep silent on Turkey’s media freedom situation. This is the message experts from the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) together with the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and Reporters sans Frontières (RSF) during a lunch time debate at the Brussels Press Club on EU relation with Turkey.

The speakers criticised EU leaders and institutions for their failures to take firm action on Turkey’s media freedom deterioration. Jean-Paul Marthoz of the CPJ said that the EU gives the impression that its silence can be bought in exchange of Turkey stemming the flow of refugees. The EFJ represented by Mehmet Koksal presented the Council of Europe Platform which shows Turkey as the number one media violator among the 47 member states. 

Turkish authority to investigate assault on Danish journalist covering refugees

(04/12/2015) The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and the Danish Journalists’ Union (DJ) have strongly condemned Turkish border police for the assault of Danish journalist Nagieb Khaja on 2 December while crossing the border into Syria to cover the refugee crisis. 

The EFJ has submitted a media violation report to the Council of Europe Platform on protection and safety of journalists demanding Turkey to apologise and investigate thoroughly Khaja’s case.Following the demand of the organisations to investigate the assault, the Turkish authority has finally responded that they have started an investigation into Khaja’s case. 

Petition to free Turkish Journalists in jail

Freedom of  Media in Turkey – At the rock of the bottom?

Union of Journalists in Finland’s freelance association celebrates 10th anniversary

(09/12/2015) The Finnish freelance association, which is part of the Union of Journalists in Finland (Suomen Journalistiliitto ) organized the “FREE10seminar”  to discuss new opportunities in the media, the future for the  journalists’  profession. The Finnish freelance journalists’ association celebrated its 10th anniversary. 

Serbian Defense Minister sacked for sexist remark

(06/12/2015) Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic announced to replace the Minister of Defense, Bratislav Gasic, following an offensive remark he made on a female journalists  from B92 Television during a conference on 6 December.Gasic sparked outrage after the journalist knelt down in front of him to avoid being in the way of cameras as he spoke to a group of reporters during a visit to a factory on Sunday. He commented: “I like these female journalists who kneel down so easily.”

What’s your recruitment strategy? Share with us ! 

The EFJ created a short survey aiming to collect latest information among EFJ affiliates to provide an overview of the current recruitment strategy, development of services and youth in journalists’ unions. 19 members have already responded. If you have not responded yet, click HERE! It only takes 5 minutes. The results of the survey will be analysed and published in a handbook on best practices in union recruitment and organising as part of EFJ project “Rights and Jobs in Journalism”

  Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina

EFJ General Meeting, 25 – 26 April 2016

The Bosnia-Herzegovina Journalists’ Association (BHN), an EFJ affiliate, will host the EFJ 2016 General Meeting (GM) on 25 and 26 April 2016 in Sarajevo. EFJ members can register online now until 10 March 2016. All practical information regarding the meeting will be made available on our website soon.

For further enquiry, you can contact us.


To keep you updated, the EFJ also publishes a fortnightly news alert. Subscribe now at
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Yuk Lan Wong, Renate Schroeder
Mehmet Koksal,
Hélène Brédart