Report: Urgent action needed to protect press freedom in Europe

Press freedom in Europe is more fragile now than at any time since the end of the Cold War. That is the alarming conclusion of a report launched today by the 12 partner organizations of the Council of Europe Platform to promote the protection of Journalism and safety of journalists. The report, “Democracy at Risk”, analyses media freedom violations raised to the Platform in 2018. It provides a stark picture of the worsening environment for the media across Europe, in which journalists increasingly face obstruction, hostility and violence as they investigate and report on behalf of the public. The 12 Platform partners…

Dutch photojournalists on strike for a payrise to counter inflation, falling tariffs and ignored authors’ rights

The Dutch union of journalists Nederlandse Vereniging van Journalisten (NVJ, an EFJ affiliate) and its photojournalist section the NVF announced on 09/01/2019 that they will be going on strike in protest at the erosion of rates of pay. The NVJ/NVF has written to six prominent Dutch media companies calling for talks before January 11th – with strike action set to go ahead on January 25th if talks are unsuccessful. Already over 200 photojournalists have pledged their support for the action. A national monitor of freelance rates shows they fell from €80 a photo in 2014 to an average rate today of €42…

EFJ welcomes Council of Europe’s recognition of bargaining rights of self-employed

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and it’s Freelance Experts Group (FREG) today joined the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) to welcome yesterday’s (13.12.2018) decision by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe that put an end to restrictions on collective bargaining for self-employed persons. The Ministers’ Committee’s decision endorses an earlier ruling by the European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR) following pressure by the Irish Trade Union Confederation (ICTU) and its affiliates, SIPTU, Equity, the Musicians Union of Ireland and EFJ’s affiliate, the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), and supported by the ETUC. The decision of the ECSR,…

Finnish trade union coalition demands more bargaining power for self-employed workers

On 20th November,  a trade union coalition called Itset, representing self-employed workers, has published a list of goals to improve the situation of self-employed workers ahead of the Finish parliamentary elections in April 2019. Many unions, NGOs and other interest groups are now drafting and publishing their manifestos. Itset, who represents all three Finish trade union confederations including the Union of Journalists in Finland (UJF) , recognizes lack of fair compensation and contracts for freelancers, as well as the fact that the current legal definition of employment is too narrow. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joins its affiliate, the UJF, in…

Sweden: Freelance fees recommendation will be increased in 2019

On November 12, the Swedish Union of Journalists (SJ) announced an increase of the recommended fees for freelances by 1.8 percent starting January 2019. The increase will concern also fixed freelance fees. This is to adjust the increased salaries by 1.8 percent accomplished through the recent collective agreement. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) supports its Swedish affiliate in this decision, recognizing that recommendations play a crucial role for many freelancers. Since the 1970s, the SUJ has issued recommended freelance rates per hour, equivalent to the average monthly wage of an employed journalist. This “freelance recommendation” consists partly in a recommended…

EFJ calls on MEPs to support TPWC Directive to protect workers’ rights

UPDATE (15.11.18): the European Parliament voted in favour of the Directive on Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions. Find more information here. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) has today called on Members of the European Parliament to support the draft Directive on Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions to protect the rights of precarious workers across Europe. On 15th November 2018, the Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions Directive will be voted in the European Parliament.  The vote will determine whether the draft Directive can proceed to the next stage of the legislative process giving the European Parliament the mandate to negotiate on the position agreed…

New EU directive could improve freelance journalists’ working conditions

On 18 October, the Employment Committee of the European Parliament (EMPL) has voted on a draft Directive on Transparent and predictable working conditions. The draft legislation aims to improve the rights and working conditions of workers in non-standard forms of employment including certain freelance workers. It comes as a response to recent resolutions in which Parliament has called on the Commission to review the precedent directive of 1991, lacking of protection for new forms of employment, so that all workers could enjoy a common core set of rights. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) welcomes the adoption of this draft…

New report shows that law often denies rights to self-employed workers

This article was originally published on the ETUC website: Despite a steady increase in the number of self-employed workers – who now represent 1 in 10 of all workers – the self-employed are denied the rights enjoyed by employees reveals a new report by the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC). ‘Trade unions protecting self-employed workers’ published today by the ETUC shows that self-employed workers are not allowed by law from joining trade unions in some European countries, cannot negotiate standard rates and working conditions through collective bargaining in many EU member states – supposedly due to due EU competition law, do…

Nordic Freelance conference: solidarity to support freelance journalists under attack in Belarus

The Nordic Freelance Conference 2018 took place this year in Malmö, Sweden. The Frilans Riks, the freelance section within the Swedish Union of Journalist (SJF), organised a two day conference focusing on threats against freelance journalists in particular from right wing extremists, rise in self-censorship, dialogue with the police, media situation in Belarus, as well as the power structure of the big tech companies (“GAFA”). EFJ Director Renate Schroeder outlined the work of EFJ and its Freelance Expert Group (FREG) with a special focus on its advocacy work in Brussels for improving freelance rights and monitoring increasing threats against (freelance)…

Media censorship in Belarus: “it is time for the EU to react”

Freelance journalists in Belarus face increasing threats, pressure and censorship and this is a concern Europeans should share, said Belarussian journalists Larysa Shchyrakova and Volha Chaichyts at a press conference held in Brussels, on Tuesday 18 September. The event was jointly organised by the International and European Federations of Journalists (IFJ-EFJ) together with their affiliate the Belarus Association of Journalists (BAJ). Larysa Shchyrakova and Volha Chaichyts are two Belarusian freelance journalists, working for Belsat TV, a ten-year-old television channel based in Warsaw, Poland. During the conference, the two female journalists exposed several problems they face in their country that they…

Press Conference: Freelance Journalism in Belarus | 18 September

The latest developments in Belarus raise strong concerns on media freedom and journalists’ working conditions. New updates to the National Media Law now prohibits journalists from contributing to any foreign media, as one of many restrictions introduced in June 2018. Cases such as “BelTA” case, increasing arrests, surveillance, libels and fines against editors and journalists are becoming a part of everyday working conditions in Belarus. The European and International Federations of Journalists (EFJ-IFJ) and the Belarus Association of Journalists (BAJ) invite you to a press conference to discuss the increasing threats against freelance journalists and state of media freedom in Belarus with journalists, experiencing the situation first hand. Speakers: Larysa Shchyrakova, a…

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