European Federation of Journalists

Freelance

The importance of cooperation between freelancers across borders in Europe has increased over the years. Colleagues inspire each other; union workers share ideas and experiences.

Contracts and fees, training, authors’ rights, and professional standards are all key issues for the growing – and ever more precarious- freelance community of journalists. Innovative financing models, which can give freelance journalists new possibilities/niches in media, are being explored by the EFJ and its affiliates.

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) Authors’ Rights Expert Group (AREG) and the Freelance Experts’ Group (FREG) strive to defend and to promote freelance rights. We say to our staff colleagues: in order to defend your rights and conditions of work, you can do nothing more effective than to promote the highest standards for freelances.

The Freelance Experts’ Group’s focus for the coming years’ is based on the EFJ’s working programme:

  • collective bargaining for all, including freelancers;
  • ensure competition law does not undermine the right to collective bargaining;
  • organising and training for freelances including on safety.

Links to freelance sites of our unions

Actions

Belgium: Everything is going up, except freelance rates

Freelance rates in Belgium have been stagnating for three years, according to a survey conducted in May and June 2022 by the Belgian Association of Professional Journalists (AJP). In a context of rising inflation (8% expected), the gap between employed journalists, who benefit from annual salary indexation, and freelancers is widening. The journalists’ organisation will make the remuneration of freelancers a priority from September. Journalism is one of the few sectors where the clients – the media – set the rates. The different calculation practices (billing per sign, per word, per line, per article, per day) make it difficult, to…

Germany: Freelancers in urgent need of long-awaited financial support

The German Journalists Association (DJV) has conducted a survey on the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on Freelance journalists in Germany. About one year after the beginning of the crisis, the results show that many freelance journalists face an increasingly precarious situationl due to insufficient support. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joins its German affiliates in drawing attention to this particularly vulnerable group of journalists and in calling for improved financial mechanisms to address this issue. Between 29 January and 19 February 2021, 1,090 freelance journalists participated in the study. It found that the average annual income of freelancers…

Germany: Expert report recommends class action lawsuits for copyright infringements of freelancers

The German Association of Journalists (DJV) and ver.di recently published an assessment report authored by law professor Caroline Meller-Hannich on possible instruments of collective legal protection in copyright law. The report concludes that, when implementing the EU directive on copyright and related rights in the Digital Single Market, German legislators should not renounce the instrument of a class action law suit or collective litigation.  A class action lawsuit of trade unions or associations is an important aspect of the copyright directive, and is particularly critical for the protection of freelance journalists. Authors regularly have difficulties in enforcing their legal claims to appropriate remuneration.…

EFJ welcomes EU Media Action Plan and urges to include support for freelancers

On 3 December, the European Commission adopted the communication Europe’s Media in the Digital Decade: An Action Plan to Support Recovery and Transformation. The Action Plan focuses on three areas of activity in the media and audiovisual sector and 10 concrete actions, to help the media sector recover from the crisis by facilitating and broadening access to financial support, by encouraging investments for the  digital transformation all on the basis that the media and news sector are not only economical but public goods central for Europe’s democracies “We are committed to help the media sector weather the current storm and challenges brought…

France: Better access to maternity and paternity leave for freelance journalists

Freelance journalists in France (called ‘Pigistes’ in French) will have better access to maternity and paternity leave, sick leave and disability allowance. The national health insurance office (CNAM) gave its green light on 7 October for more freelance journalists to benefit from social security daily allowances. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joined its affiliates in France (SNJ, SNJ-CGT, CFDT-Journalistes) in welcoming this new step towards more fairness between journalists and the different types of remuneration. Until now, ‘pigistes’ had to prove that they had earned at least 20,600€ (gross) in the last 12 months in order to be eligible…

Germany: Unions urge government to support small media and freelancers in funding scheme for media

The German Association of Journalists (DJV) has called on the Federal Ministry of Economics to link the agreed press funding to certain conditions in order to countervail media concentration and preference of large media groups. In July, the German parliament decided to provide publishers with a funding of €220 million over several years, most probably starting in 2021. This support is primarily aimed at the digital transformation of the publishing industry. However, previously agreed support specifically for the delivery of daily newspapers will not be made available. This is in the context where publishers complain that the delivery of printed press…