Sign up for weekly updates


Tens of thousands of journalists across Europe "stood up for journalism" on 5 November to highlight poor working conditions, falling standards and political and commercial pressures that are destroying quality journalism on the continent, reports the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ).

Reporters and editors in hundreds of newsrooms across Europe "paused for press freedom" on 5 November - and stopped working for two minutes in a coordinated expression of concern about the media crisis.

Journalists in the U.K. chose the annual bonfire night on 5 November to launch their own fireworks campaign against job losses in the industry and the "dumbing down" of the media. In France, six journalists' unions in a historic show of unity launched a joint campaign for independent journalism. In Brussels at a public debate, European institutions were criticised for trying to spin journalists' work.

"Quality journalism is a key factor in maintaining media pluralism and press freedom," says Arne König, president of the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), which coordinated the actions. "Without it democracy itself is threatened."

In every E.U. country, the number of freelancers and part-time workers has grown significantly as jobs and training programmes have been cut, says IFJ. Many young people trying to get into journalism are employed as interns, without pay or employment protection.

"The slash and burn tactics of employers threaten quality and standards and are making work in journalism more precarious than ever," says König. "Journalists and their unions have had enough and are determined to put quality work and decent journalism back on the media agenda."

Meanwhile, outside the newsroom, politicians and officials have increased pressure on media through unprecedented interference in journalists' work, like demanding reporters to reveal their sources and tapping their telephones, says EFJ.

Journalists are calling for new coalitions between media staff and civil organisations to challenge the collapse of public confidence in the media.

Visit these links:
- IFJ, including round-up of actions:
- EFJ:
- Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontières) on actions in France:
(6 November 2007)

Latest Tweet:

Personal experiences from Zimbabwe's internet shutdown: @kudathove @kubatana @ChichiLuciasi…

Get more stories like this

Sign up for our newsletters and get the most important free expression news delivered to your inbox.