Source/Author: EFJ
Source/Photo: EFJ

At the annual assembly of the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) held in The Hague, decisions were made regarding the budget, EFJ’s work program, financial reports, and activity reports. Additionally, 18 resolutions and 5 statements on national and European issues were adopted. The discussions during the assembly focused on journalists’ unions and professional associations and the main current challenges, such as journalists’ safety and reporting in times of conflict.

This year’s host of the EFJ assembly was the Dutch Journalists’ Union (NVJ), attended by 62 delegates from 41 journalist organizations from across Europe who joined forces to defend media freedom and journalists’ working conditions.

In her opening address, NVJ President Renske Heddema introduced the NVJ’s campaign “Journalism is a Profession,” aimed at reflecting on the role of journalism. “We want to take a step back and take responsibility, so that we can feel proud of our profession again, which is under attack from all sides. Journalism is not a game for amateurs, and it is not propaganda. It is about honorable work collecting and publishing news, fair commentary, and criticism. Journalism is, in short, a profession,” said Heddema.

EFJ President Maja Sever, in her first speech at the annual assembly since her election in Izmir in 2022, highlighted numerous actions and activities supporting journalists throughout Europe, especially in the field of safety. She also emphasized the strong collaboration between EFJ branches and other media organizations to meet the demands and needs of members in various ways. Finally, she praised the work on EU legislation, particularly the European Media Freedom Act, aiming to defend journalism as a public good.

“Over the past year, working with you, I have met people who are behind the statistics and numbers. I have met people who have become targets because of their work, who have chosen to dedicate themselves to the fight for truthful and accurate journalism because they are journalists. Our organization supports these people and helps them. And that makes me proud,” said Sever, whose full speech can be read here.

The main theme of the assembly was journalists’ safety, chosen because the Netherlands leads European protection mechanisms with the pioneering PersVeilig. Thomas Bruning, Secretary-General of the NVJ, and project leader Peter Ter Velde presented the program, which consists of monitoring attacks, training and supporting journalists, and launching fast investigations into cases, highlighting the success of the multi-stakeholder approach thanks to the unique collaboration between NVJ, the Editors’ Association, the police, and the judiciary.

The annual assembly paid tribute to journalists and media workers who lost their lives on the job in the past two years: Arman Soldin, Bohdan Bitik, Pal Kola, Brent Renaud, Maks Levin, Pierre Zakrzewski, Oleksandra Kuvshynova, Roman Nezhyborets, Zoreslav Zamoysky, Güngör Arslan, Frédéric Leclerc-Imhoff, Oksana Baulina, Yevgeny Bal, Ilhor Hudenko, Yevheniy Sakun, and Mantas Kvedaravičius.