Germany: Big media failing to credit photojournalists’ work, union campaign says

Big German media are failing to properly credit photojournalists’ pictures they use, a campaign launched by the Deutscher Journalisten Verband (DJV) shows. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) supports the DJV's call on all media to always respect journalists’ authors’ rights.


The DJV campaign “Photographers do have a name” aims to raise awareness about how photojournalists are often deprived of their right to be credited when media use their work.

Based on a study of 87 newspapers, the DJV warned about the common belief among employers that small photos do not deserve a name credit. The union highlighted particularly the responsibility of big newsrooms, where name rates of naming were below 50%.

This year, for example, the three Bavarian Newspapers Fränkische Landeszeitung, Main Post and Nürnberger Nachrichten were on top of the list with a quota between 78 and 81 per cent of credited pictures. On the other hand, big German national newspapers such as the Handelsblatt, Die Tageszeitung (taz) and the tabloid BILD had quoting rates below 50% with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) (14%) at the bottom.

Michael Hirschler, from the freelance and photojournalists department of DJV, said: “We have the impression that our action is having some effect, albeit very, very slowly. Some newspapers that used to be at the bottom are now at least in midfield.

IFJ General Secretary, Anthony Bellanger, said: “Photojournalists’ labour rights cannot be permanently under attack. In recent years, big media have severely reduced the payment for the work of photojournalists and deprived them of their legal and moral right to be quotedWe urge both big and small media to always respect the legal, financial and moral rights of photojournalists”.

The IFJ authors' rights programme calls for journalists to be recognised as the authors of the work they create, have control on any further use and receive fair payment for it, whether works are exploited off line or online. Journalists, photographers and media professionals have economic rights but they also need strong legal protection of their moral rights, including the right to be named as the author and the right to protect their content from being used in a detrimental way or context.