Finland: UJF provides financial support and guidance for journalists in need

During the Covid-19 crisis, the Union of Journalists in Finland has concentrated on supporting members with advice on how to manage during the crisis and to apply for support from the various sources available to them.

Credits: UJF

The UJF is also lobbying to get additional help for its self-employed members. The Covid-19 crisis has highlighted the fact that the most precarious workers need protected and that the Employment Contracts Act needs to be clarified.

Among the union's actions to support freelances are:

·       Covid-19 pandemic focuses need to safeguard status in law of self-employed

·       Guidelines for freelancers in the event of a Covid-19 epidemic

·       Are you being laid off? What do temporary changes to collective agreements mean?

Financial support

In addition to professional guidance, the union granted financial assistance to journalists through its own foundation. The union has already awarded 40 special Coronavirus grants - € 232.000 in total - to help freelancers and their media projects. The next set of grants will be announced in June.  

The other main field of work has been lobbying the Nordic authorities for a media support package. Finland has yet to announce any aid for the media while media houses have started announcing layoffs of journalists and salary cuts. This poses a threat to the public’s access to quality information and media plurality at a critical moment where this right is more important than ever before.

For this reason, the UJF launched a campaign involving employers to secure state aid for media. The union and employer’s organisation Finnmedia have now agreed to propose that support should be aimed at bolstering the production of journalistic content. Temporary support could be granted to those media that are most affected by the loss of advertising revenues during the crisis.

 ·       UJF and Finnmedia agree that financial support is the best way to safeguard the media during corona crisis

·       Union welcomes first steps by government for emergency and long-term support for the Finnish media

·       UJF: Covid-19 support must go first to crisis-hit companies and then safeguarding the media on a permanent basis

IFJ General Secretary, Anthony Bellanger, said: “Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, the IFJ has urged public support for media workers and the media sector. All our proposals are contained in the IFJ platform for Quality Journalism. We praise UJF’s work to support Finnish journalists and call on the government to hear its petitions and take action”.

For more information, please contact IFJ on +32 2 235 22 16

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 146 countries

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