European Federation of Journalists

Workers’ Day: EFJ calls for more support and solidarity for journalists during COVID-19 pandemic

© novinarstvo

“1 May 2020 will be another International Workers’ Day that many journalists will spend working. But this time, many journalists will do so without knowing if their pay will be 30% or 50% lower or if they will be out of work next month,” said Andrea Roth, Chair of the Labour Rights Expert Group of the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ).

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the “lockdown” measures, many journalists, particularly freelance journalists, have lost their incomes because of salary cuts, delayed payment or no assignments. This happens at a time when journalists are most needed to inform the public.

Maja Sever, Vice-Chair of LAREG and President of Trade Union of Croatian Journalists said, “As journalists, we do not need applauds for doing what we do. But we would like more support from governments and employers in order to deliver accurate and timely information during this pandemic to our citizens.

“Our job is such that we cannot possibly stay home. We should at least be paid fairly, given adequate equipment and protection, and free access to do our jobs”, added Sever.

In the past weeks, the EFJ has called on national governments and European institutions to support journalists and ensure media freedom. Some governments have, at the initiative of the trade unions, taken measures to assist the media in stopping the layoffs of journalists and provide financial support to journalists. However, in many countries, these measures are either insufficient or completely absent. There is a lack of social dialogue to ensure fair arrangements for journalists.

“The pandemic only uncovered in a very quick way the fragility of a sector that was already facing structural changes and financial problems. What will happen to journalism after COVID-19 will depend on what we are doing now to defend the rights of journalists and media freedom,” emphasised Roth.

The EFJ took the opportunity to launch a survey on the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the rights of journalists and their working conditions. The survey for EFJ members can be accessed here