Report to Congress 1998 of the EFJ / IFJ Freelance Experts' Group

(Recife, Brazil, May 1998)

The Freelance Experts Group (FREG) was established following the Santander Congress. It has undertaken one of the most challengingtasks on behalf of IFJ member unions - to mobilise and strengtheninternational organisation in defence of the freelance sector,still the fastest-growing community of journalists world-wide.

The FREG has organised major events in Amsterdam (December 1-2, 1995) and Copenhagen (November 21-23, 1997). These conferencesfocused on the rights of freelance journalists in the age of digital technology and the social status of freelance journalists in Europe.

As part of this work the FREG has completed a survey of European unions on the status of freelance journalists and has met with European parliamentarians and Commission officials.

The FREG has also initiated a process of co-operation withthe International Labour Office to carry out global research onthe extent of freelance, short-contract and part-time working.This research and survey will be carried out in the coming year.

At the same time the FREG has extended the scope of its informationwork by introducing an on-line newsletter. The aim of the workis to be more directly in touch with freelance sections of memberunions and to encourage more networking and direct contacts between unions on freelance issues.

The FREG also aims to establish a freelance web-site for more efficient transfer of information, and to organise a freelance conference early next year.

Tutta Runeberg

Chair of the EFJ Freelance Expert Group