EFJ Concerned about State of Photo Journalism in Europe

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the regional group of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), today expressed great concern about the state of photo journalism in Europe following an EFJ seminar in Paris this weekend.

"The importance of a photo, an image which tells a story and is an irreplaceable part of journalism, must be protected and treated as any other editorial creative work", said Arne König, EFJ President, who participated in the meeting on "Photo Journalists: An endangered species in Europe. "Threats to photo journalism come from all sides including a collapse in market prices, an unprecedented increase in competition with amateur photographers, the need for strong enforcement of photographer's authors' rights, the availability of free pictures on the Internet, and finally increased restrictions on photography in public spaces and during public events, such as demonstrations on the street".

At a time when images and pictures form a growing part of our cultural and media environment, photojournalists are facing a crisis of survival. The recognition of fair contracts is essential to ensuring a safe future for professional photojournalism.

The meeting adopted a set of conclusions, which included a better integration of photo journalists into EFJ policies.

"We are in solidarity with our photo journalists colleagues and believe that an increasing lack of respect for their professionalism, also with regard to the respect of authors' rights, increasingly important when it comes to digitalisation of pictures, has negative consequences for the whole media industry", König added. "We cannot just stand and watch while corporate greed is putting journalism and quality news at risk. Instead we need further training, fair contracts and respect for their authors' rights on every media's agenda".

A survey on the working conditions of photo journalists in Europe is being finalised and will be released in the coming months.

The meeting also expressed great concern about the state of French media highlighting in particular the following: the talks of the "Etats généraux de la presse écrite" which have been largely criticized by the trade unions for their lack of respect for professional concerns, the plan to "modernise" the statutes of Agence France Presse to make it a joint stock-company, and the draft law on public broadcasting which fails to provide financial guarantees to compensate for the loss of revenue once advertising is suppressed in 2009.

For more information contact the EFJ at +32 2 235 2200/02
The EFJ represents over 250,000 journalists in more than 30 countries