Ethics and Gender: Equality in the newsroom, Brussels Declaration

 Brussels, May 30-31st 2009


Brussels Declaration


We, the 60 participants from 45 countries around the globe attending the International Federation of Journalists' conference onEthics and Gender: Equality in the newsroom, held in Brussels, on May 30-31st 2009,




  • The International ILO conventions on equal treatment between men and women

  • The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) 1993 Declaration on equal opportunities between men and women adopted in Harare

  • The resolution and plan of action adopted at the IFJ Congress in Seoul, 2001 and the resolution on gender rights adopted at the IFJ World Congress in Athens, 2004



it is essential to hold strong to principles of ethical reporting to fight gender stereotypes, to combat aggressive behaviour, harassment, inequality in promotion, training and pay, and to stand up for dignity in our work as journalists and media professionals,



that in this time of global economic crisis which in most cases is affecting women more than men,



that all media workers, journalists, and trade unionists should work together to improve ethical journalism, to respect the rights and dignity of all women, and to ensure that the images of women in media and society reflect the need to end all discrimination in social, economic, political and cultural life, we unequivocally



all forms of violence, sexual harassment and bullying in our profession and declare our intention to reinforce our efforts to eliminate all these threats so that women may work in journalism in equal conditions of safety and security as their male colleagues.


The meeting agrees to demand that these issues are brought into the mainstream of core trade union work and underscored by training on equal rights and gender issues.


In Africa, journalists battle to promote gender equality not just within media but also in society as a whole. African participants call for the promotion of solidarity with all women in journalism and seek more action from unions to take account of the needs of women media professionals and to encourage more gender sensitive media content.


In Asia, where journalists are battling for job security and gender equality in the newsroom, Asian participants will a) promote gender sensitive programmes and training to unions targeting the workplace and involving journalists, editors in chief and media owners; b) develop job security campaigns organised by unions to all journalists; c) support safety training for media workers working in conflict zones and d) organise annual meetings on gender equality with IFJ affiliates in Asia.


In Latin America, journalists strive to defend universal rights for women around the principles of the Buenos Aires Declaration of August 30th, 2008. Journalists in Latin America urge the IFJ, through its regional office to conduct a study on the social economic status of women workers and they call upon the IFJ regional group FEPALC to establish a Gender Secretary to assist and work with all unions in the region to establish concrete actions destined to creating gender strengthening and female leadership.


In Europe, the meeting notes how journalists battling to stem the effects of financial crisis face far-reaching changes involving convergence of different media platforms. Existing problems experienced by women are made worse as employers use the excuse of financial difficulties to exploit the already vulnerable position of women journalists.


In this time of crisis over jobs and lost contracts and declining working conditions unions must ensure that the equality agenda is not marginalised and forgotten in crucial negotiations over the future. The meeting asks the IFJ and its regional body, the European Federation of Journalists to vigorously promote equality rights as a negotiating element in union work, and to take practical actions to uphold them.


In the Middle East, the meeting notes how journalists are battling discrimination and the impact of a glass ceiling that excludes women from executive positions and career development within journalism. The meeting insists that the IFJ and its Gender Council encourage union leaders to establish gender structures in unions where they are lacking and to insist that all affiliates encourage women to play more of a role in leadership. There is a particular need to battle against journalists' rights violation in conflict areas such as Palestine and Iraq where journalists come under fire from all political sides. There must be freedom of movement and the freedom to work freely in journalism.


Finally, participants express thanks to the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, UNESCO, International Media Support, LO/TCO Trade Union Development and the IFJ for making this event possible and they call on the IFJ and all of its members in all regions to adopt as a priority the actions and proposals arising from this meeting.


For more information contact the IFJ at   +32 2 235 2216   
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 123 countries worldwide