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"Sick journalism" a danger for democracy in Europe, warns IFJ

(IFJ/IFEX) - The following is a 27 September 2007 press release of the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), an IFJ regional group:

"Sick Journalism" is a Danger for Democracy in Europe Says the EFJ as French Journalists Launch Campaign for Independence and Quality

Today the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the European group of the International Federation of Journalists, backed a coalition of French journalists' unions (SNJ, SNJ-CGT, USJ-CFDT, SJ-CFTC, SPC-CFE-CGC, SJ-FO) in their campaign for independent and quality media.

The EFJ confirmed that it will be fully involved in the debates to take place on October 4 and in a public demonstration planned for November 5 that will support this campaign.

"What is happening in France is extremely worrying" said EFJ General Secretary Aidan White. "We see a mixture of political interference, self-censorship, media concentration and precarious working conditions. This creates literally sick journalism".

The EFJ said that this situation is not limited to France. For this reason it called on its member unions to raise awareness and campaign for media quality across Europe on the European action day "Stand Up for Journalism" on 5 November. In France journalists will hold a public demonstration in front of the National Assembly.

Across Europe, journalists are confronting similar problems, including commercial and political pressure, commercialisation of news, self-censorship, instability and attacks on protection of sources and as a consequence quality of journalism is drastically declining.

This "sick journalism" is a danger for democracy, says the EFJ.

In the case of France, the EFJ asks the government to open dialogue with the unions about the creation of a legal status for newsrooms to guarantee editorial independence and to include an ethical charter in collective agreements.

More information about the Stand Up for Journalism action-day:
http://www.ifj-europe.org/default.asp?Issue=StandUpForJournalism&Language=EN

The EFJ represents over 250 000 journalists in more than 30 countries.

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