The International Federation of Journalists and its European regional group has called on journalists throughout Europe to give their backing to strikes being called in Greek newspapers and audiovisual newsrooms on December 20th in response to a wave of sackings and a crisis of quality in the Greek media.
"Greek journalists are in the frontline of a concerted campaign to defend jobs and to demand higher quality in media content," said Aidan White, General Secretary of the IFJ and the European Federation of Journalists, "Journalists throughout Europe should throw their weight behind this campaign."
The Greek union is launching its campaign under the motto "The News is Not a Commodity, Journalists Are Not Disposable" to highlight the growing concern within journalism that employers are looking for drastic cuts in news services to confront economic difficulties. "Cutting down on quality will not solve short-term financial problems," says the IFJ, "If anything this will only make matters worse."
The Greek journalists are members of the Journalists Union of Athens Daily Newspapers and Radio-television, which has in recent months led a series of actions to highlight the complex problems facing journalists and mass media workers in Greece. Fierce competition between media outlets and cost-cutting in newsrooms has led to numerous violations of existing collective agreements and job cuts leading to what the union perceives to be a disastrous fall in quality of media content.
Journalists' unions in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and Sweden have all recently been in the forefront of actions to defend existing standards in the face of employer intransigence and a widespread economic crisis that is affecting media throughout Europe, says the IFJ.
"Greek journalists are determined to fight for quality journalism and decent working conditions in the face of employers who want to make unacceptable cuts in the newsroom," said Aidan White. "They have the full support of the IFJ members in Europe and around the world."
The IFJ and EFJ are calling on all their affiliates to back the Greek action. "The struggle facing Greek colleagues affects all of us," says the IFJ. "We will do what we can to ensure that they win through."