EFJ Campaign Against "Foretold Crisis"

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) has today declared its support for the Action Day planned by the union of public broadcasting journalists in France ahead of the debate in the country's Parliament on President Sarkozy's proposals for media reforms and the abolition of the licence fee.

"It is a naïve game:  despite reassurances from the Government and the management, Parliament is discussing legislation which does not provide for sustainable funding nor employment within France Télévisions Group and external broadcasting," said EFJ President Arne König. "If, on top of this, Parliament approves the appointment of directors by the Government, we will consider that to be confirmation of the foretold crisis about the independence and quality in the public service."

On 25 November, the French Parliament will hold the debate during an emergency session on the bill, in particular, to regulate France Télévisions. The bill provides for reduction of advertising on France Télévisions from January 2009 and its total ban from 2011. Moreover, the French government is seeking direct control over public broadcasting through the automatic appointment channels' directors, to the detriment of broadcasters. Finally, management of France Télévisions has already announced that an estimated 900 staff will retire early or leave voluntarily. These will not be replaced at a time when hundreds more jobs cuts are expected in the external broadcasting sector.
 
The "Intersyndicale", which includes EFJ affiliates SNJ, SNJ-CGT and CFDT-F3C, calls for all public broadcasting sector's( radio and television) workers to hold a 24 hours strike on 25 November 2008. Others French colleagues, journalists and media staff are also planning a demonstration at the National Parliament in Paris on the same day in the afternoon.

"The current situation in France reflects the state of the public broadcasting sector in Europe: lack of secure funding, threat to quality and independence, insecure working conditions," said Arne König. "We must look beyond well meaning words and face the hard reality: the industry and public must mobilise to save the public broadcasting industry which is facing its demise. Information is a genuine public service and governments must ensure its sound performance and quality."

In the face of challenges to the future of the French public broadcasting, the EFJ calls on its affiliates to support their French colleagues by sending their declaration of solidarity to unions and French embassies in their respective country. In this regard, the EFJ is carrying out a joint campaign with EURO-MEI.

Contacts:
SNJ : carole.petit@france3.fr
SNJ-CGT : jean-francois.tealdi@france3.fr

For more information: +32 2 235 22 15
The EFJ represents more than 250000 journalists in more than 30 countries in Europe