New ideas and accents for the EFJ Action Plan

05.04.2019 /21:32 | Източник: EFJ/ UBJ Големина на шрифт: a a    Отпечатай:

European journalists are facing an unprecedented crisis today. Murder of colleagues too curious for some politicians in power who use it for their own interests, concentrations of the media, attacks on the freedom to inform by the passing of repressive and restrictive laws, deterioration of working conditions and remuneration, precariousness, authors' rights flouted: we are witnessing a historic decline in the exercise of the unprecedented profession of journalist.

This crisis of the right to information is combined with an economic and political crisis, with nuances depending on the country. Governments only talk about monetary stability and fiscal discipline to justify their policy choices.

They are under the unprecedented pressure of business and especially financial circles to question the achievements of the social struggles of the last two centuries: labor law, wages, employment (with unprecedented precariousness, we even speak of uberisation), conditions of work (under the influence of "low cost" models) with an increase in sitting journalism, pressure from the media, state disengagement from public services.

The social role of the journalist tends to disappear in favor of factual information, entertainment, sometimes entirely dedicated to singing the praises of authoritarian governments.

Journalists are at the heart of this crisis, they suffer the loss of confidence of citizens for public affairs and politics; this loss of confidence also reaches the media in which they can not find the information they expect to form an opinion for themselves.

In a world where the exponential development of social networks with their procession of rumors and "fakenews" knowingly maintained disturbs the reasoning of many, reporters, worthy of the name, are the only serious references to reality.

When this loss of confidence is combined with a decline in advertising revenue and the number of readers, listeners and viewers, the whole business model of the media is upset. When the media depend more on advertising revenues than readers, viewers, listeners, they are inevitably weakened by economic crises such as the one we are currently experiencing and subject even more strongly to the pressures of the economic world.

The new owners of the media are thus most often presented as saviors, thus justifying the concentrations (and the loss of independence). As for newsrooms, they are reduced to the cost of the payroll they represent and the journalists who compose them are no more than adjustment variables. The decline in the number of journalists, inevitably, is reflected in the drop in the number of unionized journalists and, consequently, the ability of our trade unions to influence events.

The waves of media concentration are orchestrated by large multinational industrial groups, for whom the media are only a source of profits immediate two-digit (in general) and considered as organs of influence; we are also witnessing attempts to privatize public audiovisual services.

Given such a situation, what can be the response of the EFJ?  

Faced with a challenge to the fundamentals of our business to fully inform citizens, in the face of a Europe of all-powerful financial circles, faced with the weight of Gafam and social networks, the EFJ must debate its practices. In the fight for quality journalism, we need a strong social movement capable of imposing our demands on the information service.

The EFJ must realize that the market will not solve any of the problems that newsrooms and their members are facing. 

Faced with the States, in the face of publishers widely organized at the continental level in associations multiplying the pressures thanks to their lobbying actions, and taking into account the more and more imbrication of the multimedia groups at the continental level, such a commitment is essential to defeat anti-social policies and for the conquest of new rights in all countries, to avoid the development of national antagonisms, only one answer. 

Solidary trade unionism capable of overcoming national particularisms and traditions, and statutes so different from one country to another, would make it possible for all journalists in the continent to benefit from high-level collective protection mechanisms.

The journalist profession is not numerous compared to other professions, which is why the EFJ must have a real political project and at the same time develop links with other sectors European trade Union confederation, based on solidarity between national unions, developing concerted actions at continental level and at the level of multinational groups. It should not exclude mobilization days, or even strikes, at the continental level whenever circumstances so require.

Here are some avenues for mobilization to be implemented in an ambitious advocacy policy project.

1 - To develop a common base of dignified working conditions in consultation with EFJ members, multiplying, in the first phase, within the large multinational groups of International Framework Agreements (IFAs) more ambitious than those (too rare) which have been signed until then. The EFJ will establish a program to identify the best examples of working conditions. It will examine the most appropriate forms of expression and action to counter the leadership's propensity to turn journalists into "all-rounders" and to impose "low-cost" journalism.

2 - To prevent the galloping precariousness of the profession by bringing together the status of the freelancer (or freelancer) of that of the permanent journalist and claiming a maximum percentage of the number of non-permanent in each writing. Indeed, the vast majority of freelancers or freelancers did not choose precariousness, it is imposed on them; they are very numerous to wish to escape precariousness. On the other hand, the journalist who chooses not to depend on a writing must benefit from a social status of high level allowing him to escape the uncertainty of the next day. The precariousness of the freelance or freelance social situation can lead to information that is itself precarious. We must finish with the false freelancers, the status of forced auto-entrepreneur, etc. 

3 - Encourage employers to rehabilitate the profession through wage policies in line with the level of social responsibility of journalists; Ethical journalism needs to be exercised in high-level material conditions. A survey of wage practices in each state and in each multinational group will be initiated by the EFJ to justify the foundations of IFAs. 

4 - Develop an identical system of copyright protection in all European countries, including the moral right inseparable from the protection of the works of journalists with the aim of developing ethical journalism, and ensuring an equal distribution of resources from all reuse of works, whether by the company, platforms or customers. 

5 - Ensure by law the independence of editorial teams in the face of pressure from shareholders and lobby groups; Ethical journalism must be protected from all pressures (political and economic), including media owners who are more and more often the same as those who run the industrial and financial worlds, imposing identical social conditions and returns. Ethical journalism has a corollary status of a very high level for the person who practices it; today, the "low cost" statutes are the translation of the growing contempt of the industrialists who have taken control of the media. The EFJ Steering Committee will work with its members to draft a high-level directive for submission to European bodies as soon as possible. 

6 - In order to effectively combat the purely capitalistic concentrations of the media, the EFJ will rely on the various reports of the European Parliament which have been ignored by the Commission and the Council. The EFJ will work in particular to adopt a statute for the media company (written and audiovisual) guaranteeing pluralism, editorial independence and the social role of journalists within the company. The EFJ is committed to continuing its defense of public audiovisual media in Europe as well as their social pluralism and internal democratization. In addition to taking into account social multiplicity, the public media must assume their critical distance towards any partisan use on the part of governments. Adequate funding of public media must be provided against the speeches of private audiovisual oligopolies. 

7 - Democratize the teaching of journalism in schools and universities to ensure a true social mix in the newsrooms and, the profession must remain open, adopt a policy of lifelong learning. Access to training for all will be favored by a scholarship allocation policy and the study period will be taken into account for the calculation of retirement pensions.

In conclusion, this program will be realized only if the EFJ draws an uncompromising assessment of its action during the last decade and if, to obtain social progress, it succeeds in mobilizing its member unions; finally, if its member unions can strengthen the number of their members and mobilize them in action and for actions at the continental and national levels. 

Extended working groups (taking the place of the groups of experts), permanent or constituted as necessary, will thus be constituted to examine the actions to be carried out on each issue, under the direction of the steering committee attentive to its member unions and who will have to measure progress, constantly inform the member unions, ensure the presence of elected EFJ in all instances where claims will be processed and calling for mobilizations when circumstances require. 


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