November 5 will be Day of Protest in European Media
Tens of thousands of journalists are planning a co-ordinated day of protests in every European capital to highlight a dramatic media crisis over political pressure, falling standards and poor working conditions across Europe.
“It’s time to stand up for journalism,” said Aidan White, General Secretary of the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) at a national conference of German journalists on 13 June, announcing that leaders of the EFJ have nominated November 5th for the first ever Europe-wide action day by journalists’ groups across the continent.
“Journalists are frustrated and angry because they can’t do their jobs in the face of political interference, precarious working conditions, and rampant commercialisation that is ripping the heart out of quality journalism,” he said.
Journalists’ unions and associations in almost 40 European countries will take part in the day of protest which will involve national demonstrations and European-wide actions over collapsing public confidence in traditional media performance.
“Quality is falling and people don’t trust media to defend their interests,” said White. “We need to reclaim the ethical virtues of our profession, to tell our employers that the cuts in jobs and standards have got to stop and to warn governments that challenging journalists’ ethics is a threat to democracy.”
The date of the protest actions – famously fireworks day in the United Kingdom, commemorating an attempt to blow up the British Parliament 500 years ago – was proposed by the National Union of Journalists of Great Britain and Ireland and got the immediate backing of EFJ leaders meeting in Brussels on Tuesday.
“The state of European journalism has reached crisis point,” said Arne König, European Federation of Journalists Chairman after the meeting. “We are determined to fight for decent jobs and to defend quality journalism and we will be reaching out to civil society and political groups for support.”
He said a comprehensive programme of actions involving journalists’ unions and associations in every country of Europe will be prepared in the coming weeks.
For more information contact the EFJ at 32 2 235 22 00
The EFJ represents over 260,000 journalists in more than 30 countries