Media for Democracy in South East Europe Phase III

The following programme is on based demands set out journalists’ unions from South East Europe at the IFJ’s regional meeting on ‘The Role of Journalists’ Unions in Defending the Social and Professional Rights of Journalists’ organised in Istria in October 2002.


  • to strengthen the capacity of independent journalists’ unions to defend their members’ rights. Stronger unions will improve the working conditions of journalists vital for the long-term improvement in professional standards.
  • to strengthen regional co-ordination between unions within media owned by the same multinational companies, to develop common strategies to end the double standards and disparity in conditions faced by journalists in the same company.

Activities Summary

The objectives will be achieved through the following activities:

  1. Trade union development campaign consisting of developing trade union resource material, status of journalists’ survey, media ownership survey and a training programme for union members.
  2. Legal Support providing resources for legal costs in the defence of the social and professional rights of journalists with an emphasis on protecting the working rights of journalists.

Six national co-ordinators have been established in Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Macedonia, Croatia and Bosnia with the following partner organisations:

Croatia – Trade Union of Croatian Journalists
Kosovo – Association of Professional Journalists of Kosovo
Macedonia – Journalists Association of Macedonia
Montenegro – Independent Trade Union of Journalists of Montenegro
Serbia – Independent Journalists Association of Serbia
Media Union Nezavisnost
Bosnia – ICFTU Sarajevo
Germany - Deutscher Journalisten-Verband DJV
Deutsche Journalisten-Union, Ver.di


Trade Union Workshops
Six regional workshops are taking place hosted by the Croatian union and six further national workshops are being organised by the respective unions. Trainers are provided by the IFJ and the Croatian Union.

The Croatian trainer can draw on the successful experience of organising journalists’ unions in a former Yugoslav country. The TUCJ has established itself as the most successful journalists’ trade union in the region able to effectively bargain at both company and national level and the first to effectively negotiate with foreign owned media.

The IFJ trainers come from the Labour Rights Expert Group and predominantly from the German unions. They provide training on union organisation and developing strategies for negotiations between the national unions and the German owned multinationals.

The programme for the workshops are adapted to the needs of each group, but based broadly on the following topics:

  • Journalists’ Rights as Human Rights, Universal and European
  • Media legislation - international standards and national conditions
  • Recruit and Organise
  • Negotiations
  • Legal Protection programme
  • Protecting professional standards – the unions’ role
  • Globalisation
  • Safety

Legal Support for independent journalism

Legal support is essential if journalists and journalists’ unions are to effectively defend journalists’ rights. The project engages a series of lawyers specialising in both media and labour law to provide support to journalists. Journalists should approach their national union directly to access the legal services.

Media companies in the region are often in serious breach of the labour laws. The practice of relying on un-contracted, untrained young journalists is prevalent throughout the industry and has become a force for dragging down standards. The foreign media companies which have invested in the region, often remain in breach of national labour laws. These companies will be a source of special focus for the trade union recruitment and the legal review.

The project is jointly funded by the European Commission, the German Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen and the Swedish LO-TCO