On May 15, 2013 a three-day Congress of the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) came to its end in Verviers (Belgium). It is the first time that the representative of Poland – Agnieszka Romaszewska-Guzy, the director of Belsat TV and Vice-President of the Association of Polish Journalists – has been elected into its Steering Committee. At the same time, Mikhas Yanchuk, Belsat’s representative in Minsk, was elected into the Commission of Finance.
President of the EFJ is now Mogens Blicher Bjerregård, from the Danish Union of Journalists (Dansk Journalistforbund). Elected as Vice-President is Nadezda Azhgikhina from the Russian Union of Journalists. Further members of the Steering Committee are Andreas Bittner(DJV, Germany), who was re-appointed as Honorary Treasurer, Paco Audije (FAPE, Spain), Yannis Kotsifos (ESIEMTH, Greece), Daniela Stigliano (FNSI, Italy), Urs Thalmann (impressum, Switzerland), and Barry White (NUJ, Great Britain).
The General Meeting was attended by delegates from 29 countries representing over 320.000 journalists in Europe. The Meeting adopted a set of 21 resolutions dealing with labour rights, press freedom, authors’ rights, gender and internal policies, as well as several statements on outgoing issues such as the crisis in Cyprus and missing journalists in Syria.
Discussions at the congress confirmed the existence of two major trends in the European trade union movement of journalists – with an agreed division of north and south of the continent. Representatives of the South declared their commitment to the defense of jobs and taking care of social issues. North, especially the Scandinavian countries, Germany and the United Kingdom emphasized the supreme value of freedom of speech as such – because her behavior ensures proper development of society and the constant control of governments. The motto of the congress EFJ in Verviers was “journalism as a public good.” Most of the new Governing Committee representatives midnight captured our continent.
The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) is a regional organisation of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ). It is created within the framework of the IFJ Constitution to represent the interests of journalists’ unions and their members. The EFJ is Europe’s largest organisation of journalists, representing over 300.000 journalists in over thirty countries.