The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the biggest
journalists' group in the world, today condemned a report from newspaper
publishers outlining strategies for outsourcing and cuts in journalism across the globe.
The IFJ says a survey of the publishers' association, the World
Association of Newspapers (WAN), is a "manifesto for destruction of
"The world's newspaper bosses, including many editors, are taking the
knife to the ethical and quality journalism," said Aidan White, IFJ General
Secretary. "Their strategy is simply slash-and-burn. They seek staff
outsourcing, job losses and reduction of newspaper publishing. This is a
complete betrayal of journalism as a public good."
The IFJ says
that the bleak outlook of employers dramatically contrasts with that of the world movement of journalists which at the IFJ Congress in Cadiz
in May adopted a report on the future of journalism - Journalism in Touch
with the Future - which calls for fresh thinking in the industry and among
unions and, above all, for a rekindling of commitment to independent journalism
in the service of democracy.
employers have developed an approach which gives a priority to the bottom line
of business interests. On 12 July
the World Association of Newspapers published their survey Million Dollar
Strategies for Newspaper Companies which explicitly encourages "reduction of employees, consolidation of offices
and printing plants, integration of multiple media staff members, consolidation
of sub-editing and production units, shrinkage of newspaper widths and number
of sections and reduction of publishing on certain days of the week".
"Not a word
about standards, about democracy, about the citizens' right to know - merely a
manifesto for cuts in the quality of journalism upon which democracy depends,"
The IFJ Report on the Future of Journalism by contrast
identifies the need for more journalism as new forms of communications emerged
across the world in the past years.
The report states: "New technologies have opened up fantastic
possibilities to gather, compare and draw conclusions from huge amounts of
information (...); however journalists are frustrated by the way in which some
media companies are denying them sufficient resources to take full advantage of
the changes." The report also identified ways to develop new forms of
journalism such as collaborative journalism, "augmented reality"
journalism, more investigation and more immersion in the subject of the
"But this development of journalism as a public good needs time,
adequate training, resources and commitment to the values of journalism as a
public good," says White. "Our employers have a blinkered view. They see only
the need for profit. They sacrifice quality, they cut jobs and working
conditions, they deny journalists the right to form unions. This lack of vision
and commitment to the future is profoundly destructive."
He said that journalists now see themselves increasingly divorced from
the media that appear to have abandoned the core principles of pluralism and
press freedom. "Democracy relies upon good journalism and our people are
determined to preserve it, even if employers have lost their way. It is up to
journalists to restore trust in journalism and to encourage new voices,"
information contact the IFJ at +32 235 2207
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists
in 125 countries worldwide