IFJ and National Federation of Israeli Journalists


7 June 2009 the IFJ Executive Committee at its meeting in Oslo, Norway,

agreed unanimously to expel the National Federation of Israel Journalists from

membership of the IFJ. The IFJ wrote to the NFIJ confirming the decision and

offering them the opportunity to appeal the decision which can be heard at the

Congress of the IFJ in Spain

in May 2010.

A Financial Decision, not a Political



decision to expel the NFIJ was based upon financial matters alone. There was no

political element in the decision. It was taken unanimously.


NFIJ has not paid any fees to the IFJ for more than five years. (The last

payment made was on 26 April 2004.) The IFJ systematically warns all unions

more than three years in debt for non-payment of fees of the danger of

expulsion if fees are not paid.


Israeli union was offered a generous deal - to waive the debt for the last

three years and to pay normal fees for 2009, but they refused.


offered no payment towards the debt and said they would only pay the equivalent

of a "third world" fee (available only to the poorest countries) which is a

quarter of the normal amount. Lower fees are paid by unions in countries

classified below United Nations poverty indicators. Israel

is one of the richest countries in the region with the highest average living

standards in the Middle East. 


Executive Committee had no choice but to expel them in these circumstances.


IFJ has applied its rules regarding fees fairly in this case. The financial

management rules are transparent and well known. In recent years unions from France, Serbia,

Kenya, Thailand, Korea,

Hungary and Georgia are

among those expelled for non-payment of fees.

NFIJ Complaints over IFJ Actions  


NFIJ has registered complaints with the IFJ over its criticism of the state of Israel,

particularly on matters related to military attacks on media and free movement

of journalists.


IFJ has publicly criticised Israel

for military strikes against unarmed media installations in Lebanon, Gaza and

the West Bank. It has made similarly

criticisms of NATO (attack on Serbian television in 1999) and on the United States (attacks on media during the Iraq war 2003.)


statements have consistently pointed out that such military action against

media is in violation of international law. Similarly protests have been made

by other press freedom advocacy groups.


NFIJ also complained about the failure to consult them on the mission the IFJ

carried out to Gaza

in January 2009 which led to a report making a number of criticisms of the

Israeli government including attacks on media and restrictions on the free

movement of journalists.


response to that on 13 February 2009 the IFJ issued a Press release - IFJ Defending Journalists in Palestine and

Israel - which stated:


International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has reaffirmed its commitment to

defend the interests of journalists in Palestine and Israel in response to concerns

expressed by its affiliate the National Federation of Israeli Journalists 

(NFIJ) that recent actions in carrying out a mission to Gaza and IFJ statements

over the crisis have not adequately taken account of the views of journalists

in Israel.

The IFJ says that the emergency mission to Gaza was primarily focused on the conditions

and circumstances of Palestinian journalists and media and was not designed or

intended to examine the situation in Israeli journalism.

The IFJ recognises that Israeli journalists have sought to report the crisis

fairly under difficult conditions - they, too, were victims of the media

blockade imposed by Israel which restricted foreign media access to Gaza during

the conflict. The actions of the Jerusalem-based Foreign Press Association

which successfully challenged this blockade in the Israeli courts were also

supported by many journalists in Israel.

The IFJ, says General Secretary Aidan White,

"Staunchly defends the role of its affiliate in Israel as an independent voice of

professional journalists in Israeli society and has publicly and robustly

repudiated attempt in some quarters to link the NFIJ with the actions of the

Israeli government."

The IFJ remains committed to building working links between journalists in Israel and Palestine

in defence of free and independent journalism and will continue to oppose and

condemn military strikes against unarmed media installations, regardless of who

carries them out. It will challenge all groups, whether in Gaza and the West Bank

and in Israel

itself, when they intimidate or threaten journalists.

The IFJ Supports Israeli Journalists:


IFJ regrets the decision of the NFIJ not to reach a reasonable compromise on

the payment of fees and says it will still support Israeli journalists. The

IFJ's good faith in its relations with the NFIJ is borne out by the efforts

made by the IFJ to maintain its relations with the NFIJ:

  •       The IFJ sent three missions to Israel in recent years;


  •       The General Secretary has visited the NFIJ to discuss relations and financial matters three times;


  •       The IFJ invited the NFIJ to participate in its European section;


  •       The IFJ has offered to support solidarity actions inside Israel in support of journalists and the promotion of ethical journalism.


IFJ remains committed to promotion of solidarity and support for journalists

fighting for their rights in Israel.

We will welcome the NFIJ back into membership at the earliest opportunity when

they are ready to pay their fees in line with the IFJ Constitution.  


Please read the IFJ Letter to the National Federation of Israeli Journalists here


Please read the IFJ Statement on the National Federation of Israeli Journalists here


Information and comments from IFJ General Secretary on +32 478258669 or

Communications Officer on +32 2 235 2207