The Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted the way journalists organize their work and the journalism industry as a whole. Journalists worldwide were forced to turn their homes into newsrooms as governments closed physical working spaces to prevent the spread of the virus. This abrupt and non-regulated transition from newsrooms to teleworking for a still undetermined time poses opportunities but also several challenges that need to be addressed urgently.
Telework cannot be unregulated - rules are needed to ensure it is safe and fair.
To mark the International Day for Decent Work on October 7, the IFJ is publishing guidelines for its affiliates to ensure journalists' labour rights are protected when working from home and to push national governments to develop a guarantee-based teleworking framework.
Teleworking has an enormous impact on media workers’ rights, but it also puts at risk their ability to maintain quality coverage as it removes the physical centre for journalists' collaboration during news production.
While reporting from the field and newsroom interactions remain basic conditions for quality journalism, telework can offer benefits for media workers including the saving of unpaid time spent on transport and the reduction of levels of stress, anxiety and ecological footprint. It also provides flexibility to journalists' work and can be beneficial to work-life balance if properly regulated and combined with other measures.