International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate the Media,
Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA) in mourning the death on December 10 of
the union’s assistant federal secretary Mark Ryan,
after a two-year battle with cancer.
A lawyer by training, Ryan was one of the most influential trade union
officials in shaping wages and working conditions for journalists in Australia over
the past 25 years. Ryan joined the staff of the Australian Journalists’
Association in 1987. After the union merged with other entertainment unions in
1992 to become the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance, Ryan became
assistant federal secretary, a role he maintained until his death.
was the prime mover in the copyright campaign of the 1980s and 1990s which,
uniquely in the English-speaking world, won journalists the right to receive
payments for secondary uses of their work.
Ryan also played a key role in restructuring journalists’ awards, including the
establishment of starting rates for journalists that, by recognising
journalists’ professional status, led the way to significant pay rises across
Despite being diagnosed with bone cancer in June 2009, Ryan continued to work
and was instrumental in the process of award modernisation following the
introduction of the Fair Work Act in 2009.
was in many ways the heart and soul of the journalists’ union,” MEAA federal
secretary Christopher Warren said.
was a tough and shrewd negotiator whose passion for the rights of journalists
coupled with an infectious sense of humour earned him the respect of all those
who worked with him – and in this I include media bosses who sat across the
table from him during negotiations.
“All Australian journalists should reflect on their pay and conditions, for
which they can thank Mark Ryan. He
will be mourned by his colleagues and friends at the Alliance as well as by all those many members
he was able to help.”
Mark Ryan is survived by his wife, Kristine
Neill, and his two daughters Caroline and Georgina.
A funeral service will be held at 11am on Wednesday in Sydney.
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