International Federation of Journalists

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IFJ
IFJ logo.png
Full name (English) International Federation of Journalists
(French) Fédération internationale des journalistes
(Spanish) Federación Internacional de Periodistas
Founded 1926
Members 600,000 in 134 countries (2014)[1]
Country International
Affiliation Global union federation
Key people

Beth Costa, general secretary

Jim Boumelha, president
Office location Brussels, Belgium
Website www.ifj.org

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is a global union federation of journalists' trade unions—the largest in the world. The organization aims to protect and strengthen the rights and freedoms of journalists. It is also dedicated to working for solidarity, social justice, labor rights, globalization, democracy, human rights, and fighting poverty and corruption.

First founded in Paris in 1926, the federation was relaunched twice in 1946 and in 1952. Today, the IFJ represents around 600,000 members in more than 100 countries. The main office is located in Brussels, Belgium. Its official languages are English, French, and Spanish

The IFJ states that "The IFJ is the organisation that speaks for journalists within /.../ the international trade union movement."[1] But it claims that they do "not subscribe to any given political viewpoint".

Full membership is open to journalists' trade unions only. Other national organisations of journalists that are devoted to media freedom may be admitted as associate members. The IFJ has regional groups, such as the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) which organizes the Labour Rights Expert Group (LAREG) and the Authors' Rights Experts Group (AREG), the Federation of African Journalists (FAJ), and the Federation of Latin American Journalists (FEPALC). It has regional offices in Africa, the Asia-Pacific Region, and Latin America.

The IFJ is a founding member of the International Freedom of Expression Exchange, a global network of non-governmental organisations that monitors press freedom and free expression violations worldwide, and defends journalists, writers, Internet users, and others who are persecuted for exercising their right to freedom of expression. The IFJ was also a founder in 2003 of the media safety coalition the International News Safety Institute.

The IFJ launched the Ethical Journalism Initiative[2] in 2008, a global campaign to defend standards and to raise awareness of the importance of quality journalism.[3] Furthering quality in journalism is also the aim of a study on media diversity conducted by the Media Diversity Institute[4][5] in which the IFJ was involved. The study identified "the most significant and/or innovative initiatives taken by or about the media to combat discrimination and/or to promote diversity"[6]

The President of International Federation of Journalists, Mr. Jim Boumelha, is member of the International Advisory Board of the African Press Organization.

Monitoring journalists killed worldwide[edit]

Since 1990, the IFJ has published an annual report which documents cases of journalists and media staff killed during the course of each year. It uses the information to campaign for greater safety for journalists, particularly local and freelance reporters and support staff who lack the resources to protect themselves in conflict zones. The annual reports are archived on the website.[7] With the same aim, Reporters without Borders publishes a "barometer of press freedom" to draw attention to journalists, media assistants or netizens killed or imprisoned.[8]

Journalists Safety Fund[edit]

The IFJ Safety Fund[9] was established in January 1992 and has become internationally recognised as an important and crucial source of support for journalists under threat. It is the only international assistance fund for journalists established by journalists.

The Safety Fund is an integral part of the IFJ Safety Programme which includes casework, protests, campaigns, provision of information and production of various publications. As the Safety Fund provides immediate financial relief to a particular journalist, the Safety Programme strives all year round to highlight and improve the plight of all journalists.

International News Safety Institute[edit]

On a proposal from the IFJ and in co-operation with the International Press Institute and more than 100 other professional organisations, press freedom groups, international media, and national journalists' associations a new global media safety network was established at the beginning of 2003 — the International News Safety Institute. Formally launched on World Press Freedom Day, the institute is dedicated to the safety of journalists and media staff and committed to fighting the persecution of journalists everywhere. It also promotes safety standards that will make journalism safer and more professional.

Expulsion and Readmission of Israeli Journalists[edit]

In June 2009, the IFJ expelled the 800-member National Federation of Israeli Journalists for not paying dues, but claims against the former General Secretary Aidan White have been made that the expulsion was politically motivated. This has always been strongly disputed by the IFJ. A representative of the NFIJ believes tension between Israeli journalists and the IFJ began during the Second Lebanon War. During the war the Israeli Defence Forces began a bombing compaign of Al-Manar, Hezbollah's state-run media. The International Federation of Journalists condemned Israel's attack on Al-Manar headquarters, claiming it "threatens the lives of media staff, violates international law and endorses the use of violence to stifle dissident media." It was reported that the IFJ did not offer any condemnation after Israeli journalists were wounded by Hezbollah militants. Israel and the European Union considers Al-Manar to be a vehicle for Hezbollah propaganda and has since banned their programs from satellite.[10]

It was reported that the IFJ published a report criticizing Israel's policy on foreign journalists during the Gaza War and also rebuked its involvement in the conflict. According to Haim Shibi, the report about Gaza was compiled without "consulting a single Israeli source." He believes the IFJ's decision "reflects the European sentiment to portray Israel as an aggressor and support the Arab world." After a meeting in Tel Aviv at the beginning of November 2009 and with the assistance of mediation from IFJ affiliates in Italy and Germany, an agreement was reached between the IFJ and the NFIJ on the payment of fees and future co-operation. The NFIJ was readmitted to the IFJ on November 14, 2009. In 2010 the NFIJ played a full part in the IFJ world Congress in Cadiz where efforts were made to promote new dialogues between IFJ affiliates on both sides of the Middle East divide.[11]

In February 2012, The National Federation of Israeli Journalists threatened to end ties with the IFJ after the organization said the country had been singled out for criticism. The IFJ sent a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon stating Israel as one of 6 countries where women journalists "face threats, political pressure, violence, rape and abuse either due to their gender or simply for doing their jobs.” The other countries included Mexico, the Philippines, Somalia, Russia, and Nepal. In all of the other countries mentioned in the letter, women have actually been shot or killed during work. Danny Zaken, chairman of the Journalists Association in Jerusalem, said "I demand answers for the outrageous false paper the IFJ issued about violence toward women journalists in Israel." Zakan said over the past few months IFJ President Jim Boumelha mentioned areas of gender inequality in violence in Israel without hard evidence that suggests female journalists are particularly targeted. Boumelha has so far declined to comments on the matter and turned down requests to provide further information on the claims of Israel's alleged mistreatment of female journalists[12]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ ifj.org
  2. ^ ethicaljournalisminitiative.org
  3. ^ For a full account see the book on the initiative White, Aidan (December 16, 2010). "To tell you the truth". The ethical journalism initiative (Brussels). 
  4. ^ media4diversity.eu
  5. ^ "Media Diversity Institute". media-diversity.org. June 25, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Media4Diversity Study". media4diversity.eu. December 16, 2010. 
  7. ^ ifj.org
  8. ^ rsf.org, December 16, 2010
  9. ^ ifj.org
  10. ^ "Israeli journalists pull out of IFJ". fr.jpost.com. 
  11. ^ "Israeli journalists ousted from union". jpost.com. 
  12. ^ http://www.jpost.com/NationalNews/Article.aspx?id=259669 Journalists union may cut ties with int'l federation

External links[edit]