European Federation of Journalists

SC candidate 2016 Urs THALMANN




Main experiences and achievements:

Working conditions of journalists, social partnership and collective bargaining: Building public solidarity among journalists; uilding public pressure for the right of journalists to collective bargaining; establishing close working relationships with media houses and their associations; resulting in important steps towards new collective agreements, and maintaining already existing collective agreements on working conditions of journalists.

Support for freedom of the press and independence of journalists:  Active lobbying at all levels, cooperation with other organisations such as Reporters without Borders or Amnesty International; resulting in a public and political conscience of the difficulties facing journalists; and lobbying for favourable government action to protect journalism and its independence.

Quality and ethics in journalism: Member of the steering board of the Swiss press council, involved in different promotional projects to sustain work ethics for journalists.

2013 Elected member of the EFJ Steering Committee
2013 Member of the Independent Swiss Media Commission “EMEK”, establishing recommendations with regards to media policy for government (on topics such as public aid for media, public broadcasting, media quality, etc.)
2008 General Secretary of the largest Swiss organisation of journalists: “impressum”.
2005-2008 Central Secretary at “impressum
1999-2005 Researcher, author and consultant at the International Research and Consulting Centre of the Institute of Federalism at the University of Fribourg (Switzerland), on international human rights – related issues, including freedom of the press and access to information.
1999 Journalist at the Newsroom of the “Basler Zeitung
1997-1998 Researcher at the University of Fribourg
1997 Researcher and scientific author at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland.
Languages German (mother tongue), English (fluent), French (fluent), Spanish (fluent).



Candidate statement

During my 1st term as member of the EFJ Steering Committee, I participated very actively at all meetings, discussions and decisions.

My main priorities for the future work of the EFJ Steering Committee are:


  • For all activities, the strong and trustful cooperation between SC and the staff is crucial. This culture has developed very positively during the last years, and it must be maintained and supported. Building upon the motivation, the extraordinary knowledge and the experience of the EFJ staff members, proven by their remarkable achievements, is the EFJ’s strongest        impetus towards continuous success.



  • Strengthening the EFJ to promote its influence as the biggest and the leading journalists’ organization in Europe for the defence of media freedom and independence of journalism.



  • Strengthening the European Journalists’ lobbying power and relationships, including all important EU political bodies and to the Council of Europe, as well as the cooperation with partner organizations and with representatives of media organizations. This shall promote the following priorities:



  • Media Freedom and independence of Journalists in Europe. Fight against government censorship and against corporate censorship. Currently e. g. fight against the EU Trade Secrets Directive.



  • Fight against government surveillance, in particular in the context of anti-terror measures, and fight for an efficient protection of sources (including whistleblowers whom journalists rely on).



  • Strengthening media with content created by journalists, including the development and modernisation of public broadcasting



  • Modernised author’s rights laws that shall protect journalists’ texts, photographs and audio-visual works effectively in the digital age.



  • Fight for fair contracts, in particular for freelancers, and fair, loyal business relationships between staff journalists and freelance journalists.



  • Right to collective bargaining and right to organize for all staff and freelance journalists in all European regions.



  • Facilitate mutual understanding among journalists of all cultures from Europe and worldwide



  • Promoting public confidence towards professional journalism, through the support of journalism ethics, working conditions, quality and professional training. Strengthening the preconditions (e.g. working conditions!) necessary for journalists to fulfil their mission and their responsibility towards a modern democratic society.



  • Recruitment of new affiliates to the EFJ.