For the third year since 2016, the Labour Rights Experts Group (LAREG) of the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) welcomed participants from South East Europe and Turkey to discuss the latest improvements and deteriorations of labour conditions for journalists and media workers in Europe. The latest meeting of the group took place in Brussels on 31 October 2018 and was made possible thanks to the UNESCO EU-funded project entitled “Building Trust in Media in South East Europe and Turkey“.
As part of the final year of the project, the upcoming actions of the LAREG+ - this unique platform for exchanges between EU and EU candidate countries on journalists' working conditions – include:
- the launching of a Charter on journalists’ working conditions in Belgrade, Serbia, in February 2019;
- two sessions to present the work of the EFJ and of the local affiliate in journalism faculties in Serbia and Kosovo;
- the creation of a student prize in each country of the region awarding the best pieces of journalism on working conditions;
- a training on improving capacities to provide services to members, to take place in Kosovo (under UN SC 1244) in April 2019.
“Almost everywhere in Europe workings conditions for journalists get worse and press freedom is under threat, most pronounced in South East Europe and Turkey. Under these circumstances, for us as the LAREG working group, it is of great value to work together with our colleagues of LAREG + to learn about what is going on in their countries and to develop and release with them strategies to establish a sustainable social dialogue and the guarantee of social rights on EU standards in their countries,” said LAREG co-Chair Rainer Reichert.
During the meeting in Brussels, the participants exchanged on the situation in their own countries, showing worrying trends such as in Kosovo (under UNSCR), where according to the participants impunity for crimes against journalists remain very high. As a result, the police and the prosecutor appointed a coordinator to deal with all cases of threats and attacks against journalists.
Participants then started working on the elaboration of The Charter on journalists’ working conditions. This document should remind key principles to ensure the correct implementation of journalists’ labour laws, the strengthening of journalists’ unions to enable a social dialogue and negotiations of collective agreements.