The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today suspended the Russian Union of Journalists (RUJ) from membership following a vote of the Federation’s global Executive Committee.
The RUJ’s membership was suspended, with immediate effect, after the Executive endorsed a “provisional decision to expel”, the maximum sanction under the Executive’s powers for acting “in a manner contrary to the principles or objects…..of the Federation”.
The decision was taken following an investigation in to the conduct of the RUJ since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the formation of RUJ branches in annexed Ukrainian territories – a step the union refused to reconsider.
Under IFJ rules, only the Federation’s global Congress can take a final decision to expel an affiliate but under Rule 16 “a provisional decision to expel a member may be made by the Executive Committee after a proper investigation of the circumstances and provided two-thirds of committee members present vote to do so. Any such decision shall be notified immediately to the member in question. The member may appeal against the decision to the next Congress, which shall confirm or reverse the decision, but in the meantime the member shall be suspended from membership”.
The suspension was confirmed to the RUJ.
IFJ President Dominique Pradalié said: “The IFJ is an organization built on international solidarity, on principles of cooperation between member unions and respect for the rights of all journalists. The Russian Union of Journalists’ actions in establishing four branches in the annexed Ukrainian territories have clearly shattered this solidarity and sown divisions among sister unions.
“There are those who say we should have acted faster. For us, it is also important that we acted strictly according to our rules and constitution which ensures no affiliate is subject to arbitrary abuses of power. We have had a complaint, it has been investigated and, based on the facts, we have acted by excluding the RUJ.
It is urgent we now find ways to continue to support those independent journalists inside and outside Russia who are at risk or need assistance, continue to deliver solidarity to our two Ukrainian affiliates and to engage with the four affiliates who announced they would resign their IFJ membership and those who have been critical to ensure we focus our efforts on building the strongest possible voice for journalists and media freedom.”