IFJ Backs Media Workers' Action for Decent Conditions in Argentina

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today joined its affiliate in Argentina, la Federación Argentina de Trabajadores de Prensa (FATPREN) to support the action by graphic designers at one of the country's leading newspapers, El Clarín, who stopped the distribution of the paper on Sunday to demand decent work conditions and payment of their arrears.

"We support the workers' action to enforce their legitimate demands for decent work conditions and regular payment of wages," said Jim Boumelha, IFJ President. "It is imperative to resist media owners' attempts to roll back progress achieved by the unions in the region in defending the rights and interests of media workers."

FATPREN said in a statement that 40 workers at the El Clarín newspaper took industrial action on Sunday and stopped the paper's distribution, demanding better working conditions and wages which have not been paid for several months. They also wanted recognition of the union work and the end to measures against its representatives, some of whom have been sacked for their union work.

The paper's publisher, Grupo Clarín, which owns 383 media organisations in Argentina, has appealed to its papers and the organisation of media owners in Argentina (ADEPA) to oppose the workers' action, accusing them of undermining freedom of expression and press freedom. The Inter-American Press Association (IAPA) has also sided with the Argentinian media group.

The IFJ says the claims by media owners are an excuse for keeping their monopoly intact, eradicate unions and force the Argentinian government to repeal the legal framework approved two years ago which ended monopolies. The process of strengthening the implementation of the framework is underway in the country.

The legal framework, which received wide support from the IFJ, its regional organisation in Latin America, FEPALC and many international experts on press freedom such as the UN Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression, is considered a model to follow.

"These claims by media owners are self-serving tactics to deny the workers' right to earn a decent living," added Boumelha. "We need to push back hard against these greedy management styles wherever they still hold sway in the media industry."

For more information, please contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 22 07

The IFJ represents more than 600.000 members in 125 countries