EFJ Annual Meeting
Istanbul, 16-18 April 2010
Press Freedom in Belarus
Proposed by the Danish Union of Journalists
The General Meeting of the European Federation of Journalists in Istanbul, Turkey on 16-18 April 2010
Noting the findings and the recommendations of the International mission to Belarus in September 2009,
Noting that in Belarus press freedom is not guaranteed, in particular equal conditions for independent media is not ensured, and there are evident problems with access to information,
Noting that threats, intimidation and attacks against journalists are taking place regularly in the country, as well as undue interference in their professional activities, including recent facts of searches and interrogations of journalists and confiscation of their professional equipment,
Noting the recent attacks by the Belarus government against the Belarus Association of Journalists (BAJ), a member of the IFJ, threatening the level of security of independent journalists in Belarus and creating serious obstacles to BAJ activities;
Expresses its solidarity with the Belarus Association of Journalists and supports the struggle of BAJ members and independent journalists for press freedom and rights of journalists in Belarus;
Calls on the authorities of Belarus to immediately stop putting pressure on independent journalists and ensure press freedom in the country, first of all by ceasing discrimination of independent media, guaranteeing access to information and bringing national media related legislation in accordance to international standards;
Calls on the European Union institutions, the Council of Europe and the OSCE to monitor breaches of press freedom in Belarus and to defend press freedom and rights of journalist in their relations with Belarus.
Emergency Motion Cuts at the BBC
Proposed by the NUJ, GB
The General Meeting of the European Federation of Journalists in Istanbul Turkey on 16-18 April 2010;
Notes with concern the proposed cuts announced on 2 March 2010 by the British Broadcasting Corporation's Trust.
Further notes that the BBC, which has a world-wide reputation for good quality public service broadcasting, proposes making £600m worth of savings by closing radio stations 6Music and the Asian Network, halving the number of website pages, reducing staffing by 25%, and will sharing more programmes across local radio. It is also conducting a review of its publications, specifically magazines. There are concerns that this will lead to outsourcing and off-shoring. These publications bring valuable revenue into the BBC and are highly trusted brands. It says it plans to reinvest savings.
Expresses concern that up to 600 jobs are under threat and that compulsory redundancies have not been ruled out and believes that the proposals can only be in the interests of corporate media interests who want to begin to dismantle a vital national public service, and not the public good.
This General Meeting condemns these proposed cuts, which if successful could give confidence to all other European public broadcasters to attempt similar cut backs, congratulates the NUJ on launching its widely based campaign against the proposals and instructs the SC in co-operation with BREG to offer solidarity and support for the campaign and keep affiliated members informed of developments.
Free the hostage journalists in Afghanistan
Proposed by the SNJ-CGT, France
The General Meeting of the European Federation of Journalists in Istanbul Turkey on 16-18 April 2010;
Expressed its deep concern over the fate of two journalists from France Televisions, Herve Ghesquiere and Stephane Taponier, being held hostage in Afghanistan for more than a hundred days.
A video posted on Sunday 11 April by the Taliban and reported by the U.S. Islamist monitoring website SITE Intelligence Group, contains very serious threats against the two French reporters held since December 30 somewhere in Afghanistan.
Urgently calls on French President Nicolas Sarkozy and France Televisions CEO Patrick de Carolis and all the relevant French authorities to make every effort to negotiate and to obtain their release as soon as possible. It's their life.
Also calls on the European Union, the United Nations and in particular its Secretary- General Ban Ki Moon and the head of state Hamid Karzai to help them by all means to free the two French journalists.
Freedom and autonomy of public television in Croatia
Presented by the CJA, Croatia
The General meeting of the European Federation of Journalists in Istanbul, Turkey, on 16. - 18 April 2010
Expressing concern about the Draft of Law on Croatian Public Broadcasting (Croatian Radio-Television: HRT), which suggests new way to elect the HRT general director and editors in chief.
Considering that the Draft law suggests HRT general director is to be elected by a new body - Supervising Committee, appointed by the Parliament.
Concerned by possible political control and influence on HRT, which should be public service.
Noting that current situation on HRT is getting worse and worse and its reputation has been seriously ruined due to the fact that for the moment it functions without its general director.
Considering that the new general director has not been elected due to different obstruction in the Parliament.
Concerned by the fact that temporary general director has already shut down one very popular and serious talk-show (Latinica) and has done some personnel changes in other one (Hrvatska uzivo)
Expresses its greatest concern that the Croatian Government is trying to pass a new Law on Croatian Radio Television, which will give the ruling party a possibility to influence the election of HRT general director and through him to have impact on that public service.
Alarms the Croatian government and the Croatian Parliament against that new way of electing the HRT general director, as it might open the door to direct political control over public service, that should be disregarded in EFJ, IFJ as well as in European general public.
EFJ Statement on Rights of Journalists and Trade Union Freedoms in Turkey
The European Federation of Journalists, the representative voice of journalists in Europe, meeting for its General Meeting in Istanbul on April 16-18th 2010, expresses the support and solidarity of journalists across Europe for the journalists of Turkey in their struggles for media freedom and social justice.
The EFJ condemns vigorously the continued denial of trade union rights and fundamental freedoms that cast a shadow over Turkish media and which remain obstacles to the creation of a democratic culture. This is essential if Turkey is to achieve its ambition of membership of the European Union.
In particular, the EFJ condemns the illegal dismissal of journalists at ATV-Sabah for exercising their right to strike. This reflects the failure of Turkey to respect core labour standards and to respect the conventions of the International Labour Organisation which allows media employers act with impunity in denying journalists the right to take industrial action and to negotiate collective agreements.
The failure to protect the rights of journalists as workers is matched by an abject failure on the part of the government to respect the professional freedoms of journalists upon which democracy depends.
The EFJ notes that more than 60 journalists and media workers are currently facing prosecution or under detention, with some 44 of them in jail. We demand that they are released immediately.
The crisis for free media is made worse by a deplorable climate of fear that surrounds the exercise of journalism. The EFJ notes that 17 journalists have been attacked in recent months and we are shocked by the murder of Cihan Hayirserver, Executive Editor of Guney Marmara'da Yasam in December 2009.
The EFJ further condemns the numerous bans and restrictions on media, including the recent banning of 14 news publications as well as five online news websites and 10 other social networking websites.
All of this, combined with a barrage of 163 warnings, threats and penalties imposed on 66 Turkish broadcasters by the media regulator the Radio and Television Supreme Council marks Turkey as an enemy of free journalism in Europe and in the democratic world.
Much of this is driven by political bias including the cancelling of official accreditation for critical and independent journalists, which the EFJ also condemns.
To combat this fearful state of affairs, the EFJ
Demands that the Turkish government acts immediately to bring about fundamental changes in law and practice to allow journalists and other workers the right to strike and to organise freely without political or judicial interference
Supports strongly its affiliate the Turkish Journalists Syndicate in its efforts to defend all journalists and to associate the EFJ with its action against Turkey over the breach of the right to strike before the European Court of Human Rights;
Agrees to campaign vigorously within the global press freedom community and the international labour movement to defend journalists and media staff and to promote solidarity in support of lasting change to ensure the rights of all workers and citizens and to secure the future of democracy in the country.
Statement on Quality and Independent Journalism in Israel
The General Meeting of the European Federation of Journalists in Istanbul, Turkey on 16-18 April 2010,
Supports the work of the Israeli Journalists' Association in its demands for union rights for journalists and media workers and its campaign against attacks on Israel's public service broadcaster IBA;
Agrees to work with the Israeli Journalists' Association to share experience of European journalists' unions in order to develop national actions to counter the anti-union strategies of media employers in Israel;
Welcomes the initiative of the Israeli Journalists' Association calling for a new dialogue with Palestinian journalists to promote co-operation and solidarity on professional matters and in defence of press freedom and urges all unions in the EFJ to encourage Israeli and Palestinian journalists to pursue jointly such cooperation.