The IFJ and Al Jazeera sign historical international framework agreement

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) hailed the signing yesterday in Geneva of an historical International Framework Agreement with Al Jazeera Media Network – the first of its kind in the media sector.

The Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Jim Boumelha, President of the IFJ, and Moustefa Souag, Acting Director of the Al Jazeera Media Network, and took place at a ceremony held in Geneva at the Club Suisse de la Presse.

IFJ President Jim Boumelha said "This is a truly historic agreement and a major step forward in the global battle for the rights of journalists and respect for union activity. I am proud to have participated in its negotiation. It will give Al Jazeera journalists in all countries throughout the world the right to join unions and to defend their interests through collective bargaining. The IFJ has turned a page in labour relations at Al Jazeera Media Network and welcomes the beginning of a social dialogue that will become an international benchmark .”

Moustefa Souag, acting director of the Al Jazeera Media Network said: “By signing this MoU with the IFJ, the Network is demonstrating its respect for the right of media workers to be able to carry out their mission in a safe environment and its support for freedom of expression.

“The beginning of social dialogue also reflects the Network’s commitment to work with organisations dedicated to the protection of journalists, to confront grave violations of journalists’ rights, and to strengthen the role of media in promoting a culture of respect for human rights and civil liberties, peace and tolerance, and to reject hate speech, violence and extremism.”

International Framework Agreements (IFAs) are new instruments of transnational social dialogue negotiated between multinational companies and global union federations that ensure that the company respects the same standards in all the countries where it operates based on ILO conventions and recommendations. They cover rights to negotiation, consultation or simple exchange of information between employers and workers on issues of common interest as well as to accepted notions of collective bargaining, dispute prevention and resolution, and respect for labour law.

The agreement affirms both the IFJ and AJMN’s commitment to media pluralism, human rights, journalistic professionalism as well as internationally accepted labour relations.

Among the principles that underpin the agreement are respect for fundamental freedoms and free expression, and all the principles underlying ILO conventions such as freedom of association and the right of IFJ affiliated unions to organise and conduct collective bargaining.

It took the two organisations several months of negotiations to reach this agreement and both sides welcome their mutual recognition of social dialogue as the cornerstone of the agreement, which they now pledge to put to work.

For more information, please contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 22 16

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 139 countries

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