European Federation of Journalists


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


Collective bargaining for EFJ’s solo self-employed

Solo self-employed journalists now have the possibility to be included in collective bargaining by their unions. But what does this mean in practice? Almost a year since the implementation of the European Commission guidelines on collective bargaining for the solo self-employed, we take a look at how they have benefitted, or not, our members in the EFJ Freelance Expert Group (FREG). The EFJ has welcomed the Guidelines as an important step towards strengthened collective bargaining and has recognised its counteracting force to rebalance power relations in the labour market. Nonetheless, these are Guidelines and while they may have an authoritative…

Trade unions in media and culture sectors joined forces to protect atypical workers’ rights

On 7-8 June 2023, several European journalists’ trade unions met in Madrid with their counterparts representing actors, musicians, translators, media workers and other cultural figures to discuss collective bargaining for atypical workers. The conference was the final event of the Atypical Workers project, of which the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) is a partner, together with the International Federation of Actors (FIA), the International Federation of Musicians (FIM) and UNI-MEI. The goal of this EU-funded project, which started in 2021, was to promote the rights of atypical workers in various sectors and improve the capacity of trade unions in servicing…

New resources for freelance journalists and media workers in Europe

Working as a freelance or self-employed journalist has never been more challenging than in today’s changing media landscape and labour market. The precarious working conditions and the lack of legal protection for their rights are the daily reality facing freelance and self-employed journalists and media workers.  To address these issues, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), together with the trade union federations in the Media, Arts and Entertainment sector, launched a blog containing useful information regarding the legal rights of these workers and support provided by their unions and associations.  In recent years, we have developed an ongoing reflection in…

Journalists’ unions get EU green light to negotiate collective agreements for freelancers

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) today joined the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) in welcoming the newly adopted EU Guidelines on collective agreements by solo self-employed people.Restrictions on the right of self-employed workers, including freelance journalists, to collectively bargain for fair pay and working conditions are to be lifted across the European Union following victory in a long-running trade union campaign. The European Commission has adopted today its Guidelines on the application of EU competition law to collective agreements regarding the working conditions of solo self-employed people. The Guidelines clarify when certain self-employed people can get together to negotiate…

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…

Belarus: Journalist sentenced to prison and freelance journalist detained

Belarusian journalist Aliaksandr Ivulin was sentenced to two years in prison on Wednesday, 19 January 2022, for his protest coverage. On the same day, freelance journalist Seviaryn Kviatkouski was detained upon his arrival in Belarus. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joins its affiliate, the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ), in condemning the ongoing crackdown on critical journalists in the country. In a criminal case against the well-known sports journalist and Krumkachy football player Aliaksandr Ivulin, the Savetski District Court of Minsk ruled a two-year prison sentence and found the journalist guilty of “organising and preparing actions that grossly disrupt…