Plan to Change Statutes of AFP is Not “Modernization” Says EFJ

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ),

the European group of the International Federation of Journalists, today expressed

its concerns over plans to “modernise” the statutes of French news agency

Agence France Presse (AFP).

 

“If by modernization, AFP plans to open itself

up to investment by private companies, then we do not see it as a modernization,”

said EFJ President Arne König. “AFP has a unique statute and mission that

guarantee its independence and private shareholders would harm to the

credibility of the agency. We also point out that it is totally contradictory

to suppress commercial revenues for public broadcasters but then organise a

disguised privatisation of AFP, which also contributes to public-service

information.”

 

On October 23 the board of AFP announced its intention

to “modernise” the statutes of AFP, which date back to 1957, and to create

conditions for “stable shareholding.” Until now, AFP has had a unique structure,

similar to a co-operative organization, administrated by representatives of its

users. The agency is considered a model of independence in France and

internationally.

 

The EFJ says French media are in the midst of a

crisis as lack of compensation from commercial revenues for public

broadcasters, the opening of “Etats généraux” (national debate) with

political intentions to relax media ownership rules and revision of the

statutes of AFP are coming together to create a dangerous climate that could harm

the quality and independence of news in France, as well as to the credibility

of journalists.

 

The EFJ and IFJ have

asked to meet with President Nicolas Sarkozy to discuss these issues.

 

Member

unions of the EFJ in France

are SNJ, SNJ-CGT and F3C-CFDT.

For more information contact the EFJ: +32 2 235 22 15

The

EFJ represents over 250,000 journalists in more than 30 countries in Europe