Authors' Rights Must be Protected To Defend Quality Media Say Journalists on World Copyright Day

Better quality in media depends on higher protection for authors' rights says the International Federation of Journalists today in a statement to mark UNESCO World Book and Copyright Day on April 23rd.

"A key element in any strategy to maintain high standards of media content is to preserve and enhance the economic and moral intellectual property rights of authors" according to the IFJ, which says converging technologies are changing the nature of journalism and the conditions in which journalists work.

The IFJ blames media competition and obsession with quick profits for pressure on traditional rights and definitions of work, which are being altered, often without proper consultation with the workforce and without equitable remuneration and respect of the economic and moral intellectual property rights.

"The needs of users and public rights of access to information must be respected" says the IFJ, "but this should not lead to any weakening of intellectual protection for authors. Quality journalism can only be guaranteed by fair and equitable remuneration and by strong moral rights for journalists over their work, so that they are able to work without economic pressure and with full responsibility".

"While some employers use authors' rights as justification for more copyright protection laws, they try at the same time to impose punitive contractual arrangements on authors. There is a culture of greed and poor standards at work, says the IFJ , which is lowering standards in media".

At the same time such an approach may lead users to view the copyright community as monolithic when, in fact, authors are among those seeking greater access to information. The IFJ is convinced that the enforcement of international rules and standards as agreed level ILO, UNESCO and WIPO are essential to preserve the professional conditions necessary to maintain high quality and living standards for those who are professionally engaged in building the information society.

For these reasons the IFJ is calling on all stakeholders to support actions to defend and enhance the established and traditional intellectual property rights of journalists and other creators in the context of new information services and especially during the World Summit on the Information Society in Geneva later this year.

The IFJ says that the quality of information society services depends upon safe, secure and fair working conditions with strong authors' rights for all who work in the information, communications and cultural industries.

Further Information: Pamela Morinière, +32 2 235 22 16