The 29th World Congress of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) will take place next week, from 7 to 10 June in Angers (France), 90 years after its founding conference in Paris in June 1926.
"Journalists worldwide have sealed their brotherhood. Their languages may differ, oppositions clash, passions challenge but journalists have their International. (...) Journalists unite because they are journalists."
90 years ago, the President of the French journalists union, Georges Bourdon, became the first president of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and launched, with a handful of the unions from around the world, what has become today the world's largest organisation of the profession. The IFJ is an Associate Member of Unesco and the UN, and today boasts more than 600,000 members from 180 affiliated unions and in 140 countries.
"Since journalism began to professionalize the history of the IFJ has been intrinsically linked to the birth and development of journalistic and business organizations, representing the common interests of journalists and helping them form an identity, improve their fragile social conditions, and defend freedom of the press,” said Jim Boumelha, the IFJ President, who completes his 3rd term at the Congress.
“These initial aspirations converged internationally and pushed French journalists, who were joined by other associations, to break with the groups dominated by employers and to launch the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) in 1926. Its main objective - to promote mutual understanding among journalists from different countries - was crucial to the consolidation of rights and responsibilities of journalists, which became the cardinal principles of journalism today."
300 journalists are expected
Being back in France, 90 years after its creation in 1926, is not just a chance return. "The Executive Committee of the IFJ chose Angers because our French affiliate the syndicat national des journalistes (SNJ) and the SNJ-CGT has organised a “serious and balanced” project," says Anthony Bellanger, the General Secretary of the IFJ a French journalist and trade unionist.
"Angers is a small town that has many strengths and we must emphasize that the local authorities have been a great help to steer this huge project - a world congress of journalists. About 300 brothers and sisters from around the world are expected from 7 to 10 June in the capital of Anjou. One of the symbols of this 29th Congress will include the "White March" of journalists in the city centre of Angers on Wednesday, June 8 to honour the young Angevin colleague Camille Lepage killed in Central Africa on 12 May 2014. The vigil is an opportunity to remember all those who have fallen since 2013 - more than 350 journalists. "
During the 29th World Congress, the issue of the safety of journalists in the world will be a big topic. Journalists are paying a heavy price. Since 1990 the IFJ has recorded nearly 2,300 journalists killed in 25 years
in the world, including more than 300 in Iraq! Also on the menu, gender equality issues, trade union rights and copyright.
All working papers and practical information for this 29th World Congress are available on the dedicated website (http://www.ifjangers2016.org/
On June 7 the congress will be preceded by a pre-conference
which will include "The stories of the IFJ since 1926", "the place of youth in trade unions in the world" and a debate on "the future of trade unionism."
Brussels, 2 June 2016
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