EFJ Backs Calls for Euro-wide Protest against Photo Fees in Germany

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), together with its German affiliate, Deutscher Journalisten-Verband (DJV), today called on photographers and civil society groups to   back a European-wide petition against the photography fees imposed by the Zeche Zollverein, one of the world's most important industrial historical monuments in the heartland of Germany's industrial Ruhr district, which is designated this year's European capital of culture.  

"This is a ridiculous fee system imposed by authorities in what is supposed to be a cultural showcase for Europe," said Arne König, President of the EFJ, "Anybody should be allowed to take pictures of public buildings and such a system should be removed immediately."

Visitors to the former landmark of German coal and steel industry, which is classified as the World Heritage by UNESCO, are asked to obtain a permit to take photos of the building. The management of Zeche Zollverein, which is largely funded by public money, requests visitors to pay for pictures taken for "non-journalistic" use.

An online journalist was reportedly asked recently by the management of Zeche Zollverien to pay for photos published on his blog.

"The question on non-journalistic use is highly questionable," argued König, "Zeche Zollverein should answer this question before considering imposing the fee."

"Fees for so-called non-journalistic use will jeopardise the work of freelance journalists," warned König, "Freelance journalists are now required to pay hundreds of Euros for photos published on their blogs or even stored in the database of publishing houses."

The EFJ says freelance journalists often publish their work on their blogs or other channels for free before they obtain commissions from publishing houses.

For more information contact the EFJ at + 32 2 235 2215  

The EFJ represents over 250,000 journalists in over 30 countries across Europe