IFJ Backs Associated Press French Strikers in Battle to Protect Quality Service

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today called on management at the Associated Press to reconsider the proposed sale of its French service in a deal that they say could seriously undermine its quality and objectivity.

Journalists working for the AP French service, which provides news for French media, held a one day strike on Thursday, shutting down the wire in protest of a plan to sell the service to Bertrand Eveno and the Bolloré group.

The unions representing the journalists say that the sale will damage the quality and independence of the AP French service.

“Our colleagues’ fears that this sale will turn the high-quality news wire into a ‘low-cost’ agency and that professional standards and independence will suffer,” said IFJ General Secretary Aidan White. “We stand in solidarity with the workers at the AP in their fight to maintain the integrity of the service.”

The IFJ is supporting the Intersyndicale group, made up of four French unions representing AP workers, in their demand that the AP only consider a sale of the service to a group that will not cut quality in pursuit of cutting costs.

The 24-hour strike held from midnight Wednesday to midnight Thursday has shut down the AP’s French service today. No AP journalists from the French service, either based in Paris or in the rest of France, worked during the strike, the unions said.

The News Media Guild, which represents Associated Press employees in the United States, and its parent the Newspaper Guild, an IFJ affiliate, are also supporting the strike.

“While market pressures are a fact of life, we believe AP should insist that its business partners live up to quality journalism standards,” the News Media Guild said in a statement. “The AP has recognized the importance of employee financial dealings through its U.S. ethics policy, which is aimed at avoiding conflicts of interest that could call the credibility of its news report into question. It should apply no less a standard in its business dealings in France.”

Click here to read a statement in French from the Intersyndicale group.

Click here to read the statement from the News Media Guild.

For more information contact the IFJ at + 32 2 235 2207
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries worldwide