Ethical funding “HANDS OFF OUR UNIONS”

Proposed by: 

  1. Fédération Syndicale des Travailleurs de la Communication – Congo Brazzaville (FESYTRAC);
  2. National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ);
  3. Sudan Journalists Union (SJU);
  4. Syndicat de la Presse et de l'audio-Visuel de Djibouti (SPAD);
  5. Syndicat National des Journalistes du Cameroun (SNJC);
  6. Syndicat National des Professionnels de la Presse - Republiquedemocratique du Congo (SNPP);
  7. Uganda Media Union (UMU);
  8. Union Gabonaise des Professionnels de la Communication (UGPC)

The World Congress of the International Federation of Journalists, meeting in Angers from June 7th – 10th 2016,

recalling the motion on ethical funding agreed at the IFJ Athens Congress in 2004. This motion listed positive and negative criteria that the IFJ should use when negotiating funding for projects based on options raised by the then General Secretary in his report on the funding of the IFJ future projects;

believing that the IFJ Secretariat has over the years scrupulously to ensure that the choices of partners and donors is based on these clear agreed principles;

further recalling that, by being first and foremost a confederation of trade unions of journalists, the IFJ is guided by its core labour values of social responsibility and social justice and our overall principles such as ethics, independence, respect and non-intrusion in other unions’ governance;

agreeing that malicious misrepresentations, calumny, slander and libel as well as unfounded accusations are serious professional offences. The 2004 Congress motion specifically included in its list of negative criteria funds from organisations which “are working against the ethos of journalism”;

concerned that, in some instances, help from some donors had provoked huge divisions among affiliates and been used to run campaigns against individuals and union leaders and attempt to dictate who should be leading our unions – a sad reminder of a long-gone colonial era where imperialistic countries ruled the roost and exploited whole continents;

Congress calls on these donors to refrain from using their money to set union against union and to run campaigns to demonise individuals, in particular through unfounded accusations and slanders and the funds that come from governments who organise or support phantom unions or who do no respect the freedom of the press.

Congress instructs the Executive Committee to add to the negative criteria agreed at the 2004 congress: “funds which divide IFJ member unions and communities and which are used to seek to interfere in unions, their work, governance and choice of leaders.”

If indeed there are serious accusations of misconduct or breaches of internal rules against individuals and unions, they should be addressed to the IFJ leadership with evidence, so it can be followed in an orderly way and in line with the principles of natural justice.