Three Steps to Quality Media: IFJ Demands for Authors’ Rights on UN World Copyright Day

The International Federation of Journalists today issued a call to global policymakers to mark UNESCO World Copyright Day 2005 by adopting a three-step programme to guarantee quality and diversity in media content.

“The importance of authors’ rights protection cannot be overlooked in a world dominated by globalisation, a communications revolution and the hunger of millions for reliable information.

To guarantee the need for quality and diversity in information services and particularly in journalistic and photographic works it is imperative to ensure:

  • One – that governments support creators by improving levels of authors rights protection and enforcing rights where they are established

  • Two – that publishers and broadcasters end the intimidation and bullying of journalists and writers to sign away all their rights

  • Three – that all parties negotiate agreements that guarantee fair payment for reuse of works and provide moral rights to protect the integrity of journalism

    In a statement issued in Brussels the IFJ said UN agencies must bear these objectives in mind when negotiating new international treaties.

    The World Intellectual Property Organisation is discussing the adoption of a Treaty on the protection of broadcasters whereas an instrument protecting audiovisual performers’ was rejected in 2000 due to unwillingness of some WIPO delegations to grant performers sufficient protection, including moral rights.

    “WIPO delegations must not upset the balance when granting traditional broadcasters rights and make sure they do not overlap authors’ and performers’ existing rights over the content of broadcasting” claims the IFJ.

    Similarly the IFJ says the UNESCO Draft Convention on the Protection of the Diversity of Cultural Contents and Artistic Expressions must respect social, democratic and cultural priorities and not be subordinated to economic demands. “The promotion of cultural diversity should in no way become subordinated to international trade and investments agreements” says the IFJ. “It is time for member states to make an explicit commitment to support creators and enforce authors’ rights protection in the wording of the Convention”.

    The IFJ has welcomed positives moves that have taken part in some part of the world for introducing authors’ rights protection for journalists. In Uruguay, a new authors’ rights law recognises economic rights of journalists and their right to authorise secondary use of their works. The IFJ has also expressed satisfaction at the adoption in November 2004 of a Framework Collective Agreement adopted by representatives of media professionals in the member states of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and which could be used as a basis for reaching effective collective agreements in the whole region.

    “These positives moves are a signal as to what can be achieved. The celebration of the UNESCO Copyright Day must not ignore the fact that most creators in the world do not enjoy effective authors’ rights protection”, says the IFJ.” That’s why the three-step plan is an essential starting point for reform”.

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    The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 110 countries