Journalists Call for Charter of Fundamental Rights To Guarantee Press Freedom

The European Federation of Journalists called today for a stronger commitment to press freedom and journalists' rights in the new Charter of Fundamental Rights being prepared by the European Union.

While, the EFJ -- the largest journalists' group in Europe with more than 200,000 members -- welcomes the strengthening of workers' rights in the latest draft of the Charter, which includes the right to join trade unions and the right to strike, the Federation is calling for changes to Article 11 on Freedom of Expression and Information to strengthen press rights.

The EFJ says the latest text has been permanently watered down to delete promises to "guarantee" press freedom and has, instead, proposed the phrase "The freedom and pluralism of the media shall be respected".

Gustl Glattfelder, Chairman of the EFJ says in a letter to the French Presidency that this formulation is "much too weak to enshrine a fundamental right."

In the letter the EFJ calls for "a solid and meaningful right" on freedom of expression and information in line with Article 19 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The EFJ says that European journalists require three commitments in the Charter:

To guarantee the right to seek information

To ensure editorial independence by recognising the independence of journalists

To reinstate the term "guarantee" in respect of freedom and pluralism of the media