Euronews is the bimonthly bulletin of the European Federation of Journalists, produced in the Secretariat in Brussels.
Authors' Rights News
European Policy Briefing
EFJ General Meeting in Thessaloniki: Back to Basics
UNDER the title of ‘Trade Union Building and Solidarity in an Enlarging Europe’ delegates and participants from about 30 European countries met on April, 16-17 in Thessaloniki (Northern Greece) to discuss future objectives of the Federation. Delegates agreed to a slight increase in membership fees to secure the future running of the secretariat and the continuation of its established work in Europe. Vivid consensus was felt for the need to expand the work on transnational cooperation especially regarding the establishment of European Works Councils in media companies, the need for better protection schemes of freelances and the continuation of the work by the Authors’ Rights Expert Group. The adopted resolutions can be found on the EFJ website.
A new Steering Committee including a chair was elected for the coming three years. Outgoing chair Gustl Glattfelder, who had served the EFJ for the last 12 years since its very beginning as a chair, was congratulated for his fine work he had conducted for journalists’ trade unions in Europe and the consolidation of the EFJ within the IFJ.
New chair is Arne König, Vice President of the Swedish Union of Journalists and co-chair of the Freelance Expert Group. The other members of the Steering Committee include Ann-Magrit Austena, Norway, Androula Georgiadou, Cyprus, Heljä Korpijoki, Finland, Philippe Leruth, Belgium, Moschos Voitsidis, Greece, Barry White, Great Britain and Michael Klehm and Wolfgang Mayer, both from Germany. The first Steering Committee meeting will take place in Brussels on June 29.
All adopted documents of the General Meeting and the list of the new Steering Committee including reserve members to be downloaded here.
EFJ Welcomes European Parliament Rebuke for Berlusconi and Strong Call for Media Pluralism
ON April 22, the EFJ welcomed the European Parliament decision to adopt a hard-hitting report on the press freedom crisis in Europe and Italy in particular, despite attempts at sabotage by Parliament members, some of them loyal to media magnate and Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. The report, by the Liberal MEP Johanna Boogerd-Quaak, called for action to promote media pluralism and referred to “a possible breach of expression and information rights in the EU and Italy” and the “anomaly” due to the conflict of interest of Mr. Berlusconi as Prime Minister and owner of the major broadcasting networks of the country.
The report touched on major threats to pluralism and press freedom, citing in particular pressure on public service broadcasters, excessive media concentration and infringement of the protection of sources. The crisis in Italy, which had been the subject of a damning EFJ report late last year, featured prominently and most EFJ recommendations are included in the report. An important conclusion for the EFJ is the report’s call for the promotion of works councils in the media sectors in particular in new member states and for efficient structures for internal pluralism.
(See “European Policy Briefing”)
European Challenge To Denmark Over Charges Against Reporters Who Exposed Iraq War Policy
THE EFJ General Meeting in Thessaloniki, Greece unanimously agreed to write to Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen calling on him to raise concerns over the case of two journalists from Berlingske Tidende who have been charged because they published the contents of confidential documents leaked by a civil servant of the Danish Defence Intelligence Service.
If Denmark does go ahead, the EFJ has warned that it will support taking the case to the European Court of Human Rights as a breach of Article 10 on the freedom of expression, information and the press.
Journalists Welcome Belgian Professional Secrecy Draft Law But Fears Remain Over Security Exception
THE EFJ welcomed moves in Belgium to adopt a long overdue draft law on protection of journalists’ sources, but warned that the bill still had exceptions that worry reporters. Police action against Hans-Martin Tillack, a reporter for the German magazine Stern, caused anger among the Brussels press corps, because it raised fears of political pressure on journalists. The reporter was targeted following a request to the Belgian authorities from OLAF – the European anti-fraud unit. The EFJ condemned the move as a “fishing expedition” to get access to the journalists’ sources of information.
The Belgian journalists’ union, the Belgian Association for Professional Journalists (AGJPB/AVBB), an EFJ affiliate, is calling on the Belgian Parliament and Senate to delete exceptions of a ‘political’ type when the draft law comes up for further debate in the coming weeks. The EFJ General Meeting adopted a resolution to support the AGJPB’s position.
A debate on protection of sources including the Tillack case was organised by the IFJ and EFJ with the support of Belgian reporters and foreign correspondents at the headquarters of the IFJ/EFJ, the International Press Centre, Résidence Palace on April 2nd.
EFJ Backs Two Portuguese Journalists in Their Battle Over Protection of Sources
THE EFJ Steering Committee backed the manifesto by the Portuguese Journalists Union in support of two journalists who were asked by the judiciaries to disclose their sources by its Portuguese affiliate Sindicato dos Jornalistas.
Greece: Union Leaders under Arrest
THE EFJ protested against the efforts to carry out a mass arrest of Greek journalists’ union leaders on January 30. Greek security and legal officers have been drawn into a humiliating escapade by the action of newspaper publisher G. Kouris who filed charges against the Executive Board of the Journalists Union of Athens Daily Newspaper because of an all-out strike involving journalists and press workers at two newspapers – Avriani and Filathlos – owned by the Kouris Media Group.
The IFJ and EFJ sent letters of protests to the Greek authorities and European representatives.
Germany: EFJ Welcomes Pay Deal For Journalists in Face of “Aggressive Stance” by Employers
THE EFJ welcomed a pay deal agreed by the two German unions of journalists Ver.di and Deutsche Journalisten Verband (DJV) and the German Association of Newspaper Publishers (BDZV) following talks which had taken place after four weeks of industrial action in February. Over 14,000 journalists are covered by the agreement. Among other things, the BDZV sought to increase working time, to reduce holidays and to lower holiday pay.
On 13 January, representatives from the EFJ protested outside the Brussels offices of the European Newspaper Publishers Association (ENPA) calling upon the ENPA to oppose the hard line being taken by the BDZV. On 29 January 2004, the first strikes began in over 70 newsrooms. Several rounds of negotiations between unions and newspaper publishers took place, and the final agreement was only achieved after a marathon l6-hour session.
The major points of conflict have been resolved. The agreement scaled holiday leave according to age, instead of reducing it to a unique amount. The proposed increase in working hours has been avoided. Salaries have not been cut as proposed by employers, but there was no agreement for increases according to the inflation rate. The agreement was endorsed by both union members.
Romanian Journalists Sign National Collective Agreement
ROMANIAN Journalists celebrated on Wednesday 31st March when the first national collective agreement was signed between the employers and the coalition of unions representing media consisting of the Romanian Journalists Society, SZR, the Federation of the journalists and the printers unions, FSJTR, the Federation of the United Unions from National Television and the Federation of Unions from Romanian Public Broadcasting.
Included in the agreement are the following
· 10% rise in minimum salary
· 200% salary rate for journalists working in dangerous environment (conflict reporting) and holiday entitlement for the following situations
· Maternity / Paternity benefit – 3 days; Marriage – 5 days; Death of close relative – 3 days; Relocation of home or workplace – 5 days.
Strikers at Radio France in Battle Over Pay Discrimination
THE EFJ called for solidarity with journalists of Radio France, on strike since 27 January to call for harmonisation between their salaries and salaries of journalists at public television. The unions of Radio France (SNJ - SJA-FO - SNJ-CGT - CFDT - CFTC - CGC) launched the strike after management refused to open negotiations on this matter.
Since 1974, all French public service broadcasting companies are covered by the same collective agreement. The salaries of both radio and TV broadcasters are supposed to be the same. However, radio broadcasters’ salaries have not been increased for the last 7 years despite the ‘plan Servat’ agreed in 1994 between Radio France and the government, which was to review the salary disparities annually.
EFJ participates in OECD survey on impact of media concentration on journalists
A STUDY on the The Impact of Media Concentration on Professional Journalism was published by the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media by the end of 2003. The survey covering eight European countries was conducted in co-operation with the EFJ. The role of works councils, the existence of social dialogue, the influence of the advertising agencies, editorial independence as well as professional and ethical standards were the main items of the questionnaire which was limited to the newspaper sector in Germany, Finland, United Kingdom, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Poland and Romania.
EFJ Project: Building EWC at Media Company WAZ
IN the framework of developing European Works Councils at transnational companies, the EFJ is organising the project: ‘WAZ EWC: Launching Information and Consultation Structures at WAZ and its subsidiaries in Europe”. For this purpose a preparatory meeting in Düsseldorf on January 26 took place with representatives from the works councils at WAZ companies in Germany, both German affiliates and a colleague from a WAZ paper in Hungary. The meeting discussed the preparation of background documentation, the draft agenda and participants to the seminar to be organised in Budapest on June 18-19. WAZ has subsidiaries in Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania as well as in Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro and Mazedonia. The meeting will invite management to the seminar as well.
Brussels: Launch of A Code of Conduct for Brussels Media
AFTER months of debate journalists’ groups in Brussels have launched a Code of Conduct that aims to provide media with guidelines to avoid conflicts of interest, improve transparency and strengthen the quality of independent journalism in one of the world’s leading news centres. The code, which has been elaborated with the participation of a number of Brussels-based media, challenges political groups and commercial interests that try to use media to increase their influence within the policy-making circles of the European Union.
Covering the EU Constitution, seminars for Journalists in Brussels
THE European Journalism Centre in Maastricht is announcing an extensive programme of seminars focusing on different aspects of the constitution. As the debate about the text continues throughout Europe's capitals, the seminars will give journalists background information, the latest news and ideas on how to cover questions related to the constitution. They will cover issues such as the union's new foreign and security policy, transparency, economics and finance or immigration.
EFJ members may participate in one of 16 seminars the EJC is organising from March until July 2004. The seminars are open to journalists from the 25 current and new member states. The programme is organised in cooperation with the Task Force for the Future of Europe of the European Commission.
France: Dassault, France's main aviation industry, has taken control of 70 publications, including the daily "Le Figaro". The family company increased its stake in Le Figaro publisher Socpresse from 30 to 80 per cent. Dassault now holds 82 per cent of Socpresse, with 13 per cent Hersant and five percent controlled by the head of Socpresse. Almost 75% of the daily press in France now belongs to two major military industry groups : Dassault (aviation) and Lagardère (weapons). Journalists' unions at "Le Figaro" have vowed to closely monitor the deal and define a clear status for the company.
Austria: The Styria Medien AG company, which published two Austrian dailies, "Kleine Zeitung" and "Presse", confirmed it is to hold a stake in Slovenian daily "Dnevnik". At first, the company plans to purchase 19.5 per cent share of the daily from Slovenia's KD Holding, while in future this may rise to 25 per cent. Styria Medien AG has already filed the obligatory request for approval for future acquisitions with Slovenia's Ministry of Culture. Klaus Schweighofer, one of the publisher's managers, said the company is focusing on markets in Slovenia and Croatia, while other former Yugoslavian markets were not yet being considered. KD Holding also has a stake in Bosnia's "Oslobodenje".Source: www.apa.at. - APA
Macedonia: Several new newspapers in Macedonia (former Yugoslavia) are trying to challenge the monopoly of Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung (WAZ), which controls 80 percent of the print media in this small Balkan country. Vreme, Vecer and Nova Makedonija are the new dailies that have already appeared or will reappear soon with a new look. Previously, both Vecer and Nova Makedonija were state-owned newspapers. Last year, WAZ merged Dnevnik, Ultrinski Vesnik and Vest -- three leading newspapers with a combined circulation of 120,000 -- into a new company named Media Print Macedonia. That move left behind no serious competition.
Free Press: Associated Newspapers is considering to launch Metro in Dublin. Associated already owns "Ireland on Sunday". For Metro International, which launched its first edition in Stockholm in 1995, the past nine years have been a success story. The latest Gallup international readership survey, conducted in November 2003, consolidated Metro's position, as the world's most-read newspaper outside Japan, with a four per cent year-on-year increase in the number of daily readers to 12.8 million.
Bertelsmann, the largest European media company, said that it would have €2 billion to spend on acquisitions in the next three years to spur growth after 2003 profit declined. Bertelsmann expects book publishing and services in China and India, as well as television in Eastern Europe, to fuel growth, which is harder to come by in Western Europe and North America.
PUBLIC BROADCASTING NEWS
Importance of Public Broadcasting recognised by Council of Europe Reports
THE Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe adopted a Report on Public Service Broadcasting on 12 January 2004,. The document reaffirms that PSB is “a vital element of democracy in Europe”. Apart from an overview of PSB in Europe and other places of the world, and a section on new technologies, the report proposes recommendations for Member States and for broadcasters.
"Changing Nordic Mediascene" Conference, Helsinki, 4 May 2004: The Union of Radio and Television Journalists in Finland organises a conference on Tuesday May 4th 2004 at the Finnish Broadcasting Company’s headquarters in Helsinki. Meajor Nordic academic and professional speakers will debate on PSB and its future in the region.
Public Broadcasting in Europe - BBC after Hutton Case. The National Union of Journalists of Great Britain and Ireland, with the support of the IFJ, is organising a Conference on public broadcasting with a special focus on the current situation of the BBC. It will take place in London in the afternoon of Saturday 22 May. Speakers will include members of the PSB Committee; Members of the European Parliament, British MPs or member of the House of Lords involved in broadcasting matters; media correspondents; academic/author specialising in PSB; and a speaker from both the NUJ and the IFJ.
Meeting of the PSB Committee in London, prior to the Conference: The Conference in London will be the occasion for the members of the PSB Committee to meet –on Saturday morning-, prior to the IFJ Congress.
AUTHORS’ RIGHTS’ NEWS
The European Council adopted the Directive on measures and procedures to ensure the enforcement of intellectual property rights
Following the European Parliament’s vote on the directive on enforcement of intellectual property rights in March the European Council adopted the directive on 26th April. The adopted text harmonises a series of civil sanctions, which counterfeiters would have to face in case of any intellectual property rights infringements but would normally exclude acts carried out by end-consumers acting in good face (peer to peer, for instance). Fears were that the directive could threaten the confidentiality of journalists’ sources. The final text now contains specific references to tackle this concern and states, for instance, that procedures must provide for necessary guarantees including “the protection of confidential information".
The European Parliament unanimously adopts the Report on Collecting Societies
The European deputy Mercedes Echerer’ s (Austria, green) report on collecting societies was adopted unanimously in plenary session on 15th January. The report contains important provisions, which acknowledge the role of collecting societies, tackle competition issues and aims at encouraging the European Commission to release its Communication on rights management.
In particular, the report stresses that reasonable levies are “the only means for ensuring equitable remuneration of creators as compensation for free reproduction as well as an easy access by users to intellectual property works and cannot be replaced by Digital Rights Management”. It also defends the importance for right holders to control collecting societies and the need for transparency. The report also calls on competition law to counter media concentration.
Creators’ Forum Conference
Together with other creators’ organisations (European Writers Congress, Fédération Européenne des Réalisateurs de l'Audiovisuel, Pyramid, Union Network International, International Association of Art, European Federation of Screenwriters, International Federation of Musicians, International Federation of Actors) the EFJ organised a conference on 18th February under the theme: “Authors’ Rights in the EU and Globalisation”. The seminar focused on the importance to protect creativity and authenticity of literature, the arts and sciences and their authors against economic misuse, deprivation and impoverishment.
Speeches are available on:
An open letter calling on EU institutions to recognise the fundamental role of creators and the need to grant them sufficient protection to guaranty the quality of culture can be signed at:
Rome II Regulation
Discussions on the Rome II Regulation and the law applicable to non-contractual obligations continue after Diana Wallis, the rapporteur for the European Parliament stressed the importance to find appropriate solutions for defamation cases. The law applicable to copyright infringement still remains the law of the country where the protection is sought, in accordance with the Berne convention- as initially proposed by the European Commission.
Due to the coming elections for a new European Parliament in June this year, no vote in Committee will be held until the Parliament meets again in autumn.
The European Commission releases its Communication on the management of copyright and related rights
The European Commission published a Communication on rights management on 16th April, calling on a community legislation for collective management of rights and the governance of collecting societies. It also states that interoperability of DRMs is a pre-condition for their emergence and list several options for improving community-wide licensing for the exploitation of rights.
The Commission decided to launch a further consultation on rights management for interested parties to submit their comments until mid June.
EUROPEAN POLICY BRIEFING
The Irish EU Presidency warned that the national identity of European nations was being threatened by the rapidly expanding number of cross-border television channels. Some 10 of the 15 member-states "gave support to the Irish position that this issue needs to be addressed". Currently there are about 1,100 television stations in Europe compared to 103 in 1990, said a statement after the two-day meeting. Two hundred of these transmit from one country to another, causing problems about programme content, according to critics. Ireland, Sweden and Austria, EU members particularly exposed to this cultural invasion, want to have a say in content transmitted by "television without borders". But the European Commission is opposed to such a policy.
The Commission has issued its intention to launch a detailed enquiry into how Dutch public service broadcasters are financed. They are particularly concerned by the issue of ‘cross-subsidisation’ which describes the practice of using publicly-sourced funding to finance private commercial activities which fall outside the broadcasters’ public remit.
The EFJ co-signed together with major media organisations a letter to Commissioner Bolkestein in order to react on the market abuse implementing directive recently published. The letter criticises that the implementing directive imposes technical requirements on journalists and publishers regarding the fair presentation of recommendations and on the disclosure and interests, which interferes with the editorial content and the protection of sources.
The European Commission established in February an important web-page on Gender Equaltiy reaffirming EU-Gender Mainstreaming as “Incorporating equal opportunities for women und men into all Community policies and activities”. The web page offers more than 40 links to international and national documents on gender policy.
The Commission launched its overdue review on the European Works Councils Directive. All Social Partners including the EFJ are called upon to give their opinion on how best to review the Directive in order to guarantee transnational social dialogue at company level. The EFJ in co-operation with its Labour Rights Expert Group will draft a position on the review.
The Commission opened consultation on the future revision of the Working Time Directive. The Working Time Directive 93/104/EC is designed to protect the health and safety of workers by limiting their hours of work to 48 hours per week (including overtime), defining the rest periods at 11 consecutive hours a day and one day per week, as well as establishing a statutory right to four weeks of paid leave per year. The DJV replied to the consultation.
The Commission is organising a seminar for the Social Partners presenting the results of the study on “Economically dependent work/parasubordination: legal, social and economic aspects” in Brussels on May 26. The EFJ Freelance Expert Group will participate in this event. The commission plans in 2005 to adopt a Communication with a view to launching the widest possible European debate involving the social partners at the national and European levels, the parasubordinate workers, the Member states and the other European institutions.
The study is available at the following address:
The Commission launched an overview of social protection systems for self-employed workers in all Member States: http://europa.eu.int/scadplus/citizens/en/de/0107972.htm
The report on ‘the situation as regards fundamental rights in the EU (2003) by MEP Alina Boumediene-Thiery was adopted in the Plenary session in February (Final Report, March 22). The report ‘condemns the fact that media pluralism, one of the cornerstones of democracy is being trampled underfoot in the most cynical manner in Italy’.
The report notes that the right to be informed was violated by public television TV1 in Spain in June 2002 during the general strike. It also calls for better protection of journalists’ sources from public authorities intervention and quotes the EFJ. Regarding social issues, the Parliament warns against allowing working conditions to become dependent on court decisions and not on social dialogue between workers’ and employers’ representatives. It asks the EU institutions to ensure as soon as possible the adoption of the Directive on working conditions for temporary agency workers ensuring high employment standards.
The report on ‘The risks of violation, in the EU and especially in Italy, of freedom of expression and information (Article 11 (2) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights) was adopted in Plenary Session o April 21 (see press release above). In a long list of recommendations the report also includes the need to up-date the Green Paper on pluralism as well as an action plan on measures to promote pluralism. Where Member States fail to take adequate measures, the EU has a political, moral and legal obligation to ensure within its competence that media pluralism is respected, says the report. There shall be rules requiring transparency of the ownership of the media, in particular, in relation to cross-border ownership and for the publication of information on significant interests in the media. It also includes the EFJ demand to ‘adopt ‘conflict of interest’ rules to ensure that members of government are not able to use their media interests’ as well as ‘measures to encourage media organisations to strengthen editorial and journalistic independence and high standards of quality and ethics through editorial statutes; the promotion of works councils in media companies or self-regulatory means. MEPs take the view that there are sufficient concerns to warrant a detailed examination of the situation by the Commission, which should be followed by appropriate legislative proposals. In addition, an annual report on pluralism should be drawn up. The EU Constitution should contain a provision on the need to ensure pluralism in the media. Member States should incorporate in their constitutions an active duty to promote respect for freedom and diversity of the media.
Regarding the situation in Italy, the report notes that the level of concentration in the audiovisual market in the country is the highest in Europe. It notes therefore that the Italian system constitutes an anomaly, owing to a unique combination of economic, political and media power in the hands of the Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi.
A preliminary study carried out by the European Institute for the Media (EIM) shows that in each of the eight countries examined (France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden and UK) there are issues which require further investigation. The complete study EIM is due in June and will contain final comparative conclusions based on the situation in all 25 current and new Member States.
The Parliament also adopted a resolution ‘preserving and promoting cultural diversity: the role of the European regions and International organisations, such as UNESCO and the Council of Europe’, stresses that cultural products are not merchandise like any other and therefore require special conditions for their production. Moreover, the market cannot be the measure of all things and must guarantee in particular diversity of opinion and pluralism.
In the report, MEPs reaffirm the importance of public services in maintaining cultural diversity. The Commission is asked to ensure that the growing concentration of media ownership does not lead to an oligopoly, which would be a threat to pluralism, cultural diversity and the freedom of choice for consumers.
The EP called in another resolution on the Member States to respect the maximum 48 hours in a week and called for a revision of the Directive on working time with a view to the phasing out of the opt-out, which allow individuals or member states to waive their rights under the Directive. The resolution was adopted by the Parliament in the context of the consultation launched by the Commission following a report on the workings of current EU legislation in that area. The report focuses on the individual opt-out and on the definition and calculation of work.
The Parliament adopted further a report by Philipe Herzog on the Green Paper on Services of General Interest, which made specifically reference to the importance of transparency in the arrangements made for financing publicly-funded broadcasters in order to ensure fair competition. Any services of general interest which aim at maintaining or increasing pluralism of information or cultural diversity should only be subject to supervision by the Commission in cases where there is any apparent abuse of discretionary powering defining such services.
COUNCIL OF EUROPE (COE)
The Committee of Ministers of the CoE has adopted the Declaration on freedom of political debate in the media which had been debated for more than two years in the Steering Committee on the Mass Media (CDMM)and its expert groups. In this debate the EFJ has argued successfully together with the representatives of EBU and ENPA against restrictions of the freedom of expression and privileges for political figures and public officials.
With view to the upcoming 7th European Ministerial Conference on Mass Media Policy in Kiev/Ukraine in spring 2005, the Council of Europe asked all organisations enjoying observer status on the CDMM (Steering Committee on the Mass Media) of the CoE to reply to a questionnaire on “Transnational media concentrations in Europe and their impact on media pluralism and diversity”. The Advisory Panel on Media Diversity will then on behalf of the CDMM draft a report on the development of media transnational concentrations in Europe and their impact on media pluralism and diversity. The EFJ reply is available at the EFJ office.
The European Manifesto of Minority Community Media calls for recognition of the role minority community media play in Europe. It has been drafted by a transnational network of national platforms of minority community media, and approved by national, regional and local groups across Europe. The manifesto will be presented during the European elections in 2004 to the President of the European Parliament.
APRIL: 15 : Steering Committee, Thessaloniki ; 16-17 : General Meeting, Thessaloniki ; 29 : Kick-off Meeting on Social Dialogue in the Audivisual Sector, Brussels.
May : 4 : Demonstration at Police on Tillack Protection of Sources Case, Brussels ; 22: Public Broadcasting in Europe - BBC after Hutton Case, NUJ/IFJ Seminar, London; 26 : Hearing on Economically dependent Workers, European Commission, Brussels ; 25-29 : IFJ congress, Athens
June : 18-19 : EWC WAZ Seminar, Budapest ; 29 : EFJ Steering Committee