Colombian Journalists Mark Press Freedom Day with Historic Launch of National Union

In the early hours of May 3rd delegates from around Colombia finalized the launch of a new national union – a landmark event in one of the world’s most dangerous regions for journalists.

The foundation of the Colombian Federation of Journalists, the country’s first national union, was welcomed by the International Federation of Journalists at United Nations celebrations for World Press Freedom Day held in the city of Medellin in Colombia, a notorious centre of crime and drug-running, which has seen dozens of attacks on journalists over the past decade.

IFJ General Secretary Aidan White, in a keynote address to the UNESCO-sponsored conference on impunity in the city, said the launch of the new union was an historic moment for Colombian journalism.

“It signals the creation of a new solidarity in the fight against impunity, exploitation and corruption that is the scourge of journalism in Colombia,” he said.

White challenged Colombian media employers to recognize the new union. “It is time for new and vigorous alliances within the industry,” he said. “We need to form new partnerships based upon respect for decent working conditions and journalists rights.”

The new union was launched after a three-year programme of consultation with local journalists’ associations in Colombia’s 24 regions. The process was led by the IFJ Solidarity office originally established in Bogota in 2002 to campaign for improved safety for journalists. From 2004 it started campaigning for improved conditions for journalists and developing regional unions to protect their rights.

The process has been closely supported by IFJ affiliates in Spain, Sweden and the UK who have helped secure support from the Spanish regional government of Cantabria, Swedish trade union centres LO and TCO, and the British government.

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For more information contact the IFJ at 32 2 235 2207
The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 100 countries worldwide