As Mecom Quit , EFJ Calls for Quality on German Media Agenda

The decision

by troubled media company Mecom to sell its prize German assets is a golden

opportunity to abandon reckless cutbacks and put quality journalism back on the

media agenda, says the European Federation of Journalists

Mecom, a

transnational giant based in Britain

and funded by investment bankers, has bought up hundreds of newspaper

titles across Europe over the past few years

and has become notorious for enforcing tough editorial cutbacks and changes to

squeeze profits out of media that are caught up in major restructuring of the

industry. They have now been forced to sell German newspaper

publishing houses Berliner Verlag and the Hamburger Morgenpost to meet their own cash crisis.

"Companies

obsessed with making profits rather than investing in the future of media are

not what Europeans need," said Arne König,

President of the European Federation of Journalists, the regional group of the

International Federation of Journalists, which represents  more

than 260000  journalists in Europe.

The EFJ together with its German affiliates, the DJV

and dju in ver.di  say the takeover of the Berliner Verlag and

Hamburger Morgenpost by the experienced editing group M. Dumont

Schauberg,  is a golden opportunity to provide job security and

to reinforce quality standards in media.

"This is the moment to ensure that long overdue

investment  is made in the newsroom ," said König. "It's an opportunity to put quality back

on the agenda and to restore journalism to its core role." 

The

EFJ says that Mecom, led by David Montgomery , a former boss of the

British tabloid group The Daily Mirror, had provided a poor example of

ownership, serving only the interests of investors rather than recognizing the

special and important role that quality media play in European social and

democratic life. "We hope Dumont will now

install a long-term vision of journalism, which   will focus on

standards,

ethics and good quality service for citizens," added König.

The

EFJ has monitored the policies of  Mecom in Germany and the Netherlands  over

the past two years and has voiced strong doubts  over the Mecom

strategy  arguing that cuts  in editorial staff and

elimination of editing services, while saving on salary costs, would turn

out to be a dangerously false economy.

For

more information contact the EFJ at 32 2 235 2200

The EFJ represents over 260,000 journalists in over 30 countries in Europe.