UNESCO supports discussions on labour conditions of media professionals in South East Europe

In the framework of the UNESCO Project “Building Trust in Media in South East Europe and Turkey” funded by the European Union, members of the Labour Rights Expert Group (LAREG) of the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) have transformed the group into LAREG +, welcoming new participants from South East Europe and Turkey. The enlarged group met for the first time on 4 April 2016 in Brussels.

“The event provided a unique opportunity to exchange views between EU and non-EU participants from South Eastern Europe of the EFJ members and discuss recent developments in the media sector affecting journalists’ working conditions”, said EFJ project Officer Mehmet Koksal.

During the meeting, national reports on labour conditions of journalists were shared and discussed among participants. Ms Erisa Zykaj from the Association of Professional Journalists of Albania (APJA) and Mr Dejan Gligorievic from the Journalists Union of Serbia (SINOS-UNS), highlighted the challenges faced by journalists in their countries, which are in many ways similar from the ones faced by European colleagues. They also mentioned the importance for media employees to be covered by proper work contracts to address the issue of journalists’ self-censorship and or political interference.

LAREG Chair Philippe Leruth recalled two important meetings the members had with MEP Thomas Händel, chair of the European Parliament Committee on Social Affairs and Marianne Thyssen, the European Commissioner on Social Affairs.

LAREG+ members agreed to meet again informally during the upcoming EFJ General Meeting on 24 April in Sarajevo before their next meeting scheduled in October 2016 in Zagreb, Croatia.

The EU-UNESCO funded project “Building Trust in media in South East Europe” supports media freedom and media integrity in the EU enlargement countries. The project seeks among others to improve the internal governance of media organizations based on the commitment of media owners and editors to respect clearly defined professional and labour standards.

For more information about the project click here.