The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the regional organisation of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), met in Zagreb, Croatia, for its General Meeting on 23-25 March 2007.
Delegates discussed the future of journalism, quality issues and the need for social dialogue with employers, adopted a working program for the next three years and elected a new steering committee.
The meeting included a special session to discuss the media industry in Croatia. While there has been an improvement, in general, in press freedom in Croatia, delegates from 28 European countries said they were concerned about several violations of social, professional and ethical rights of journalists and media companies.
The EFJ strongly supports the Trade Union of Croatian Journalists (TUCJ) in its efforts to negotiate a national collective agreement to be signed by the end of this year. In particular, the EFJ supports TUCJ's efforts to protect core labor standards and professional rights of journalists in local and regional media as well as permanent freelance collaborators (economically dependent workers) by this agreement. The EFJ urges foreign media owners to give employees in Croatia the same rights and benefits as employees in the media company’s home country.
The EFJ further supports the Croatian Journalists’ Association (CJA) and the TUCJ’s demands for:
• local and regional media to be free from political pressure from local authorities;
• complete financial transparency on state companies’ expenditures for advertisements in local and regional media;
• the Croatian government to save the Vjesnik daily newspaper;
• clarity regarding the national news agency Hina, as the European Union’s institutions pointed out the political interference taking place within the agency and which affects the accession negotiations between Croatia and the EU.
Newly re-elected EFJ chair Arne König said: “We strongly support the initiative of both of our affiliates, the TUCJ and CJA, as well as the Association of Media employers (UNI) and other civil society associations to establish a Press Council by the end of this year. This is an extremely important instrument for self-regulation in the media industry and common practice in most European countries.”
Zagreb, 25 March 2007