Bulletin of the European Federation of Journalists
EFJ Steering Committee Calls for
Protection of Sources Campaign
NOTING increasing problems regarding protection of sources in several European countries, the EFJ Steering Committee meeting in Brussels on September 8 agreed to launch a protection of sources campaign in co-operation with the IFJ. In several countries there have been demands for media to hand over film or pictures as evidence of crimes and subpoenas on reporters to give testimony of what they have seen while in the exercise of journalism. Such a campaign should be integrated in the IFJ quality campaign to be discussed at the IFJ Executive Committee meeting in November. A project on protection of sources has been handed in to the Council of Europe with the objective to conduct a study on the situation of protection of sources in Council of Europe member countries. The Steering Committee also agreed to draft a letter to the Danish Presidency of the EU drawing their attention to the problems of protection of sources and its impact on press freedom in Europe.
At the same meeting, the Steering Committee adopted a press release, in which the EFJ warned governments not to use media for war mongering as the debate over a possible military strike against Iraq begins to dominate the news agenda. Journalists should be on their guard against politicians trying to use media during the anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks on Washington and New York.
Survey on Media Concentration in Europe
EUROPEAN Media Ownership: Threats on the Landscape is the title of the EFJ survey on who owns what in Europe. The survey, conducted by Granville Williams from the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom in the United Kingdom, gives an overview of the main media players in the EU Member States, Norway and Switzerland. The material will be used to campaign with Members of the European Parliament, civil society and unions, even though (or because) the political will at national level to protect quality and pluralism media services is weaker than ever. The study provides compelling evidence that this must change. An English and French version will be put on the EFJ website. The survey is available at the EFJ office.
On behalf of the EFJ, Granville Williams will present the outcome of the survey at the European Social Forum in Florence, 6-10 November 2002 during a panel on "Media and globalisation".
Increasing Interest in media issues
THE European Officer Renate Schroeder participated in an information seminar for national parliamentarians of the candidate countries on "Broadcasting, Radio and Television in the EU Member States and the Candidate Countries" at the European Parliament on 16-17 September 2002. The MEPs present at the meeting were concerned about media concentration, quality and the independence of public broadcasting and agreed with the EFJ on the need for a more concerted strategy regarding training and further training for journalists in the candidate countries.
The EFJ met with civil servants from the Culture and Media Committee of the European Parliament in order to discuss the organisation of a Public Hearing on Media in Accession and Stability Pact Countries, which will take place on November 13 at the European Parliament. IFJ Project Director Oliver Money-Kyrle will outline the main challenges for the region at the Hearing.
Media, Power and Democracy is the title of a GREENS/EFA conference in the European Parliament on November 12, to which the EFJ has been invited as speaker. Themes to be discussed will be "Media concentration & globalisation: Threat to pluralistic democracy? Media & Politics: Who controls who; and Media & the European Union: Is better regulation needed and does the European Union have the necessary legal means to deal with the problem?
French socialist MEP Olivier Duhamel, who is a member of the Convention, presented a contribution to the discussion on the Future of Europe, with Michel Rocard, chair of the EP Culture Committee. He refers to the risk that media concentration at international level poses for pluralism of information. He also makes reference to the Protocol of the Amsterdam Treaty, which grants specific protection to public broadcasters. He calls on the Convention to ensure better service between the exercise of the public service and the application of competition law. He also called for the integration of freedom of expression and media pluralism into the Constitution as fundamental values of the EU.
Freelance Group Agrees to Launch New Survey
THE need to include so-called 'economically dependent workers' under European social protection schemes has been discussed within the European Commission and the European Parliament. The EFJ Freelance Expert Group agreed at its meeting in Brussels on September 30 to conduct a study on the 'freelance syndrome' in the media sector. 'Economically dependent workers' means for journalists so-called "false freelance journalists" who work for one employer only. The study shall analyse the social and legal situation of freelance journalists and the grey zone for those shifting between employed status and independency. If the Commission approves the project application, the EFJ will launch this study at a conference to be organised probably in Ljubljana in the autumn of the next year.
The meeting also discussed the economical crisis in the media sector and its impact especially for freelances. The meeting proposed to launch a debate at European level to exchange practical advice on how to assist freelances in such crisis situations.
European Journalists Condemn Newspaper Employers
For "Callous Disregard" Over Safety of Freelance Staff
THE EFJ condemned newspaper employers for "callous and unacceptable disregard for the safety of freelance staff" after newspaper bosses announced their opposition to European Union plans to improve the health and safety rights of freelance workers. In an EFJ press release on October 1st, the EFJ and its Freelance Expert Group says that opposition from the European Newspaper Publishers Association to amendments on the European Council's recommendation on health and safety of self-employed workers is putting "profits before safety" and ignoring the enormous contribution made by an increasing pool of freelance journalism that serves the European newspaper industry.
The EFJ is supporting amendments to strengthen health and safety rights coming from the rapporteur Manuel Pérez Alvarez of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs.
Revision of Best Practice Survey and
EFJ European Works Councils Strategy
LABOUR rights experts met in Brussels on October 14 to discuss core areas of activity of the EFJ. With similar challenges at national level, the group discussed ways to better co-ordinate the trade union work at European level. The Best Practice Survey was appreciated as a very valuable negotiating tool to be used in the up-coming negotiating rounds in several countries. There will be a revised version to include some best practice specifically from Italy and France and information regarding trade union organisation at company level.
A number of events around the formation of European Works councils with the aim of a better co-ordinated approach between parallel transnational events will be taking place this autumn: an EWC seminar in Warsaw (see article on Orkla below); an EWC meeting focusing on the expansion of German media companies in Central and Eastern Europe in Budapest on November 22-23 and a Baltic trade union meeting in Tallinn in November with the co-operation of the Nordic journalists unions. The EFJ Labour Rights Expert Group will convene a meeting early next year to exchange information, network in a co-ordinated approach and adopt a practical working plan in this crucial area of transnational work.
New Face at EFJ to lead Campaign
PAMELA Morinière has joined the EFJ/IFJ office as the new Authors' Rights Campaign Co-ordinator in October. With a legal background and extended experience in authors' rights, she was welcomed by the Authors' Rights Expert Group meeting on October 19. Topics at the meeting were the follow-up of the EU Santiago conference "European Copyright Revisited", a EU study on Authors' Rights Contract Law in EU Member States, a EU communication of collective societies, a proposed communication on digital rights management as well as the website, activities with WIPO and IFRRO. (See Authors' Rights News below)
EFJ Welcomes Bid to Strengthen
Protection for Media in European Market Abuse Law
ATTEMPTS to amend the draft Market Abuse Directive to give an explicit exemption for journalists were rejected at the plenary session in Strasbourg on October 24. However, MEPs did agree to an amendment from Robert Goebbels, the Parliament Rapporteur, which says technical arrangements for the implementation of the directive shall take account of "the rules, including self-regulation, governing the profession of journalists." Though the EFJ welcomed such effort by law-makers to give added protection to financial journalists who complain that new rules to expose and eliminate insider trading on world financial markets may limit press freedom, there remains concern among journalists and media groups that these rules would limit press freedom and saddle reporters with burdensome disclosure obligations. The EFJ will remain vigilant as the Directive and follow up proposals from the securities regulator make their way to the statute books in the coming year.
Immediately after the vote in the committee and before the Plenary Session, the EFJ had brought together journalists and legislators to a meeting - Journalism in the Stocks? - to discuss the potential threat to press freedom of the new directive.
The draft directive has now been passed by the Parliament in second reading and needs approval from the EU states to become law. EU governments are expected to accept the law in its current form.
CoE Conference on Freedom of Expression
and Protection of Human Rights
FREEDOM of expression and its limits, protecting journalists' sources and journalistic ethics was discussed at a conference organised by the Luxembourg Chair of the Council of Europe, held in Luxembourg on 30 September and 1 October. The conference also looked at the draft legislation on freedom of the press, which is currently before the Luxembourg Chamber of Deputies. Aidan White, EFJ General Secretary was the rapporteur of the conference and said in his closing address that "The increasing pressure for media to hand over films or pictures and for reporters to give testimony may threaten the status of journalists as independent neutral observers". Three challenges can be taken up by the Council of Europe to this respect, according to the General Secretary: campaign vigorously for the respect of the existing texts, promote confidence building measures within the media and insist that media have the professional space to work. "Best solutions to the problems raised in this conference will come from quality journalism itself," he concluded.
Swedish Journalists' Congress
Protest Against Lack of Transparency
THE EFJ affiliate, the Swedish journalists' union SJF is concerned about a recent report showing that the parliament and government have passed a number of laws for increasing secrecy in the last years. In a statement the SJF congress protests and calls for more transparency, not less. "We don't need more secrecy", says the SJF president Agneta Lindblom Hulthén. "The citizens need a democratic and open society where it is easy for anybody to get access to documents and knowledge". EFJ General secretary Aidan White participated in the SJF congress in Stockholm. The 110 delegates discussed, among other things, collective agreements, wages and working hours and expressed concern about EU data protection legislation.
ORKLA European Works Council:
First Steps; First Success in Poland
THE Norwegian Union of Journalists (NJ) in co-operation with IFJ Executive Committee member Andrzej Krajewski organised an Orkla Media Trade Union Seminar of Polish dailies in Warsaw on October 26, 2002. The aim was to include journalists working in Orkla Press Polska in the existing European Works Council system of information and consultation in Orka Media/Berlinske. The Norwegian media company Orkla has subsidiaries in Denmark and in Poland and represents all in all about 30.000 employees.
Most of the more than 20 Polish participants were either members of the Syndicate of Journalists or of "Solidarnosc". They reported about difficulties regarding negotiations of collective agreements with the employers at local level. The unions are too weak to be able to influence staff policy. The meeting agreed to establish a forum of journalists within Orkla Press Polska. The aim of the forum is to establish representation from Polish employees in Orkla for information sharing with the colleagues in Norway and Denmark. Three Polish, one Danish and two Norwegian members were appointed as a working group, which will prepare the next and more formal meeting for representatives of union members from all 13 Orkla dailies to take place in January 2003.
EFJ Accuses Poland of
"Political Manipulation" Over Advertising Ban
THE EFJ condemned the Government of Poland for "political manipulation of the media market" over a ban on certain state advertising in some of the country's major opposition newspapers. The EFJ protest follows a decision to break with traditional arrangements and to restrict the distribution of lucrative advertisements for treasury bills and bonds only to government-friendly media. The EFJ is supporting protests in Warsaw by journalists, editors and media owners against the ban and plans to raise the issue with the Council of Europe and the European Union. "This ban violates European standards and should be lifted," says the EFJ. "Clear and fair rules regarding the allocation of public advertising are vital to prevent political discrimination and government interference in the media market."
Trade Union Seminar in Croatia:
Defend Your Rights
OVER 60 journalists and journalists' organizations from Central and South-east Europe called on journalists throughout the region to overcome their divisions and work together to defend their social and professional rights during an IFJ seminar in Istria, Croatia, October 3 - 6, 2002. Journalists are expected to play a defining role in democratic development by informing the public with timely quality and independent information. And yet, throughout Central and South-east Europe, the majority is expected to do so on low salaries, poor contracts, little training and no job security.
The meeting called on the EFJ to increase direct support for building union structures in the Central and South-east Europe. The meeting also called on media donors to introduce safeguards that prevent financial support for media with exploitative employment practices.
Journalists Protest Over Plan to Evict
Latvian Union From Historic Headquarters
THE IFJ and EFJ protested to Latvian Prime Minister Andris Berzins over privatisation plan that could see the Journalists' Union of Latvia evicted from their headquarters. According to media reports, on 17 September a secretly prepared draft decree of the Council of Ministers will start the sale of a number of historical buildings in Riga including Reuter House, the journalists' union headquarters, which was restored by the Union ten years ago.
European Journalists Protest Over
Violation of Rights in Northern Cyprus
THE EFJ voiced its strong support for Cypriot and Spanish journalists after police evicted a group of them from the Turkish occupied part of Nicosia. On October 14 a group of Spanish journalists, taking part in a European Union supported seminar, were kicked out of the area by Turkish Cypriot police who disrupted their meeting. The group had passed the green line officially in order to meet non-governmental organisations and Turkish Cypriot journalists. The meeting had just started when police showed up and asked the group to leave. They threatened to use force if they did not leave voluntarily.
Journalists' Solidarity Day Will Focus
on Media Concentration and Trade Union Rights
AS part of the follow- up work of this year's Annual Meeting, the Steering Committee agreed to organise a European-wide journalists' solidarity day in the spring of 2003 focusing on media concentration, employment rights, broadcasting policy, union recognition and bargaining, authors' rights and editorial independence. Member unions will be invited to Brussels to meet with members of the European Parliament and Commission officials. The EFJ Expert Groups will be involved in the preparation of that day and similar events should be organised around these themes at national level.
Danish Union Reach Agreement for Broadcasting Journalists
AFTER almost four weeks of strike in August/September, the Danish Union of Journalists reached an agreement with the public broadcasting company. The agreement will give the journalists a pay raise of at least 1160 DKR (150 EUR) per month over a period of two years. The chairman of Dansk Journalistforbund Mogens Blicher Bjerregård says that he is pleased with the deal as the union's most important demands have been met, and that it is better than the mediators' suggestion. He says the agreement will improve the influence of the local union representatives, and comes close to securing the real wages for all.
IN PORTUGAL, the center-right government introduced a draft regulation to change radically the structures of public broadcaster RTP, arguing that RTP2 was going through a severe financial crisis. The objective of the proposal was to reduce the current two-channels system to a single public television channel without advertisement. Journalists, as well as a large part of the public, were opposed to such a drastic change without any consultation process. A joint mission was organised with the media and entertainment section of Union Network International (UNI). The mission took place in Lisbon on 12 July including IFJ Project Director Oliver Money-Kyrle. The mission met with the Chief of Cabinet of the Minister of the Presidency in order to support the views of the unions and workers of RTP. A "Group of Reflection" on the future of public broadcasting has been created in August, in order to analyse the definition of public broadcasting in the case of Portugal, the content and the obligations of the broadcaster.
IN ITALY, Silvio Berlusconi's influence is under increasing international and domestic pressure. On 14 October 2002, the management of the RAI ordered a four-day suspension of Michele Santoro as a disciplinary sanction for not having reported fairly on topics such as press freedom in Italy or droughts in Sicily this summer.
On 23 July, the Italian President of the Republic, Carlo Ciampi recalled the "central role of public broadcasting as a democratic, social and cultural requirement of each society" in an official message to the Parliament. A current draft law presented by Minister Gasparri aims to reform the broadcasting system. The EFJ affiliate, the FNSI warned that the law might give more facilities to the private competitors of RAI by deregulating cross-ownership.
IN IRELAND, the public broadcasting campaign lead by the National Union of Journalists was successful in the debate on the future of broadcasting. On 30 August 2002, the Forum of Broadcasting issued its report, which said that State broadcaster RTE's claim for a licence fee increase is fully justified and called on the Government to introduce measures to guarantee the viability of the station. The Broadcasting Forum has been launched last March, and the NUJ Ireland submitted its position, which has been endorsed in the final report. The position of the NUJ, anticipating the resolution of the European Federation of Journalists in relation to public service broadcasting, warned against the development of "a privileged cartel in the commercial broadcasting sector".
The legal process went on in EX-YUGOSLAVIA. The Campaign in Central and Eastern has been mostly focused on the debates around the PSB laws in Bosnia, Serbia and Montenegro. The IFJ issued statements of support for the adoption of broadcasting laws that guarantee an independent and viable public service in Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, taking into account the recommendations of the Council of Europe for the special political context in the region. The situation is more worrying in Montenegro where a package of laws (Law on Broadcasting, Law on Media and Law on Public Broadcasting) have been under preparation for almost a year, and then finally adopted but with a date of implementation fixed as on 1 May 2003. A meeting on this issue will take place in Podgorica on 4 November.
EUROPEAN AUTHORS' RIGHTS' NEWS
The French Minister for Culture, Jean-Jacques Aillagon, has commissioned the State Adviser Raphael Hadas-Lebel to investigate assignments of authors' rights under employment contracts. The Minister is concerned that assignments of authors' rights under employment contracts in France are not satisfactorily regulated. The mission should try to conciliate the exploitation interests of the industry and the rights of creators, journalists, "pigistes" and photographers in areas which have experienced a great expansion due to the development of new technologies. The French unions has fought to keep the prohibition of contracts on future works, while the publishers' campaign is aiming at deleting this reference from the French intellectual property law.
The Danish Newspaper Publishers Association won its first victory against Danish search engine Newsbooster which was using deep-linking to direct subscribers to articles on newspapers' web sites. The court held that Newsbooster was violating newspapers' copyright and that its behavior contradicted "good marketing practice". The court therefore issued an injunction to prohibit Newsbooster from providing links to Danish newspapers' web site.
A recent judgment from the High court of eastern Denmark held that Aller Press Ltd should negotiate authors' rights issues within collective agreement and not directly with each individual employee. The Danish Union of Journalists (DJ) had claimed that Danish Aller Press Ltd had no right to insert new clauses on the transfer of authors' rights in the contract of new employee while there was a collective agreement already in force. This victory is a great step forward against journalist's author's rights infringement in Denmark and could hopefully pave the way for further ruling in that direction.
Council Regulation on the law applicable to non-contractual obligations (Rome II)
Intellectual property (IP) rights are not excluded from the draft text, although the Commission's ambition was to do so at some stage. The reason why copyright and IP rights have not been specifically excluded in this draft was because the Commission was hoping to encourage a debate on whether all IP issues should be carved out or only specific areas such as copyright should be excluded from the future Regulation. Following the comments received there will be an internal EU Commission consultation process and probably a second external consultation (regarding defamation law see also below European Policy Briefing).
Public Lending Rights Report, 16th September 2002
The European Commission recently reported that the 1992 Council Directive on the Rental and Lending right and certain related rights had been unequally implemented within Member States. The Directive requires in its article 2 that authors of books, films and any other copyright works, either have the right to authorize or refuse the lending of their works by institutions such as public libraries, or that they be remunerated for such public lending. Article 5 provides for a limitation to this exclusive right in case of "not for profit" lending of a work by public libraries and other establishment open to the public. Authors should however receive payment for such lending. The report shows that no remuneration at all is being paid in France, Greece and Luxembourg for public lending. In Denmark, Sweden and Finland, public lending rights may be applied in a discriminatory way. Moreover, Spain, Ireland, the Netherlands, Portugal, Finland and the UK have exempted lending establishments from the Directive's provisions. The European Commission has taken the decision to sue Belgium for not implementing article 2. This Commission's report will be soon discussed in the European Parliament and in the next European Council working group.
EUROPEAN POLICY BRIEFING
COUNCIL OF MINISTERS
The EU employment, social policy, health and consumer affairs ministers met in Luxembourg on October 8 to discuss among other the proposed directive on working conditions for temporary agency workers. Regarding the latter, the Presidency listed the issues, which needed to be tackled in the coming months, notably the principle of non-discrimination and the concept of the 'comparable worker'. To reach agreement in this field at European level will be extremely difficult.
The EU has condemned Belarus for a litany of recent human rights abuses including two years internal exile imposed on journalist Victor Ivashkevich. In a statement, the Danish presidency urged Minsk to remove clauses hostile to freedom of expression from its criminal code.
The Commission's DG Justice and Home Affairs adopted a working document on applicable law to non-contractual obligations under consultation. The EFJ is concerned about Article 7, which relates to defamation. The article determines the law applicable to defamation in cross-border cases by choosing the law of the country of the plaintiff.
The Commission organised a hearing on the review of the data protection directive, to which the EFJ was invited and circulated a position (see link below). The EFJ is concerned that the directive in its current wording severely undermines freedom of expression. In its submission it says that Article 9 of the directive on processing of personal data and freedom of expression and urges the Commission to pay special attention to the incompatibility with Article 10 of the ECHR and certain national implementation regulations. The EFJ stresses that laws on data protection must also take into consideration the principle of protecting the confidentiality of journalists' sources of information.
Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner responsible for Education and Culture, spoke during the 'Münchner Medientage' about the challenges facing a future regulatory system for media and communication. She said that at the end of the year she would present the report on the application of the 'Television without Frontiers" Directive. She would combine this with a work plan for 2003. The work plan will tackle questions such as: How long can community regulation be limited to the "Television without Frontiers" Directive? Is a new, comprehensive regulatory framework needed for "content without frontiers"? She said also concerns such as the question of whether or not Community regulation of the "right to report on events in brief" will be needed in future.
The Commission launched a European multistakeholder Forum on corporate social responsibility (CSR) on October 16. The Forum will aim to promote innovation, convergence and transparency in existing CSR practices and tools. The CSR Forum is composed of 20 EU level representative organisations of employers and business organisations, trade unions and civil society.
EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT (EP)
The Employment and Social Committee strengthened the Council's Recommendation on health and safety of self-employed workers. The requirements are not only addressed to self-employed workers themselves but also to the contracting undertakings, which use their services. The vote in plenary is scheduled for November. The EFJ reacted to an attack by the Newspapers Association to exclude health and safety provisions in the press sector (see article above).
The Committee on Employment and Social Affairs noted in its opinion on the strategy paper and report of the Commission on the progress towards accession by each of the candidate countries that social dialogue should be enhanced at sectoral and branch level and calls for further efforts to make sure that information and consultation of employees at company level is given. It also stresses the importance of cross-border co-operation, which can be fostered to better adapt to labour market effects.
The EP Rapporteur Wim van Velzen called for a broad debate on public sector information in relation to the Commission draft Directive 'eEurope 2002-creating an EU framework for the exploitation of public sector information'. The rapporteur noted the specific character of public broadcasters, who are protected under the Protocol of the Amsterdam Treaty, and therefore excluded from the scope of the directive.
In the report on the respect of human rights in the EU, Joke Swiebel addresses the importance of guaranteeing freedom of the press. She called on 'members of governments and other politicians in the member Sates to attach paramount importance to the value of the press and to refrain from legal actions or public statements that tend to curtail or influence journalists' freedom and independence". She also urged Member States to guarantee journalists' freedom of investigation and the right of non-disclosure by revising their legislation when necessary. This supports the EFJ/IFJ campaign for protection of sources (p. 9 of the report).
COUNCIL OF EUROPE (COE)
Journalists from south Eastern Europe were invited to send accounts of their experiences of defamation to a Council of Europe conference in Strasbourg on 17 and 18 October. Their stories will help to build up a picture of the problems faced by journalists and add to the testimony of experts from countries in the region. Oliver Money-Kyrle, IFJ Project Director participated in the seminar.
EUROPEAN TRADE UNION CONFEDERATION (ETUC)
At the ETUC seminar on the coordination of collective bargaining in Greece on September 1-3, coordination of wage policy and the concept of quality employment and the role of collective bargaining were on the agenda. The meeting agreed that evidence showed a strong link between trade union density/collective work organisation at the workplace and better quality employment and proposed that the Dublin Foundation for the Improvement of Working and Living Conditions should add that variable to their list of quality employment indicators.
Reporters Sans Frontiers published its Press Freedom Index. According to their investigations, Finland, Iceland, Norway and the Netherlands scrupulously respect press freedom in their own countries. According to the EFJ affiliate in the Netherlands, the NVJ, the situation regarding press freedom is far from excellent. Journalists have been harassed by police and threatened. Anti-terrorism laws have endangered press freedom in 2002.
More information: http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=4116
On October 1, 2002, freedominfo.org announced the Web publication of its newest case study in the worldwide struggle for openness and freedom of information - in this case, the decade-long effort to open the structures of the EU. Authored by Tony Bunyan of the London-based NGO, Statewatch, the study starts with the December 1993 code of access to EU documents and covers every major development up through the June 2002 requirement of public registers - with which the European Commission is still not in compliance today.
More information: http://www.freedominfo.org/case/eustudy.htm
Renate Schroeder, European Officer
European Federation of Journalists
International Press Centre
Bloc C, second floor
Rue de la Loi, 155