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The status of journalists in Europe

Doc. 14505: collection of written amendments | Doc. 14505 | 24/04/2018 | Revised version

Caption: AdoptedRejectedWithdrawnNo electronic votes

ADraft Resolution

1The Parliamentary Assembly reiterates that freedom of expression and information is a fundamental right guaranteed by Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ETS No. 5). That right includes media freedom, which is a key prerequisite for the existence and development of a democratic society.
2Professional journalists have a mission to provide the public with information on general or specialist topics of interest as responsibly and as objectively as possible. Accordingly, the Assembly is concerned to observe a gradual slide into precarity of the profession of journalist, directly linked to the collapse of the traditional financing model used for many media following technological change and the development of online media, with their impact sometimes exacerbated by political factors related to growing tendencies driven by populism, authoritarianism or the favouring of private interests. Some media have thus seen their editorial independence undermined while others have had to lay off staff.

24 April 2018

Tabled by the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights

In the draft resolution, at the end of paragraph 2, add the following sentence: “However, the Assembly notes that technological changes have also had a positive impact on journalists’ work, in particular by facilitating research, communication and the creation of international networks and globally accessible databases with journalistic sources and works.”

3A drop in revenue of most media, the casting around of publishers for new business models and the virtually systematic outsourcing of work have all substantially contributed to the boom in the number of freelance journalists. The latter are confronted with a lack of professional recognition: although working in the same conditions as journalists employed on full-time contracts, they do not have the same rights and are unable, in several countries, to be represented by trade unions and negotiate their rates.
4The Assembly is further concerned that journalists' working conditions continue to deteriorate: they are working longer hours; the demand for high output affects their ability to check information sources, investigate sensitive issues and analyse facts with a degree of detachment; many media companies do not allocate adequate resources to training; freelancers often lack preparation or insurance for working in areas where there are risks or conflicts.
5In addition, the Assembly observes unacceptable inequality between women and men in the profession: women's careers are shorter than men's; it is considerably more difficult for them to reach managerial level; female journalists are the main victims of cyberbullying and sexist violence. In this connection, the Assembly reminds the member States of Committee of Ministers Recommendation CM/Rec(2013)1 on gender equality and media, and the need to implement it.
6Consequently, the Assembly recommends that member States:
6.1fully assume their positive obligation to protect media professionals, taking all necessary steps to ensure freedom of expression and the protection of sources, and put an end to impunity for attacks against journalists;

24 April 2018

Tabled by the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights

In the draft resolution, replace paragraph 6.1 with the following paragraph:

"fully respect their obligations stemming from Article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights as regards journalists and other media actors' freedom of expression, and in particular their right not to reveal journalistic sources and their right to receive or impart information;".

24 April 2018

Tabled by the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights

In the draft resolution, after paragraph 6.1, insert the following paragraph:

"take all necessary measures to strengthen the safety of journalists and other media actors, to stop any harassment (including of a judicial, administrative or financial nature) against them and put an end to impunity for attacks against them, notably by conducting effective investigations into killings and other offences against their physical integrity; in this respect, member States of the Council of Europe should implement the guidelines set out in the appendix to Committee of Ministers Recommendation CM/Rec(2016)4 on the protection of journalism and safety of journalists and other media actors;".

6.2review their domestic legislation on the status of journalists with a view to identifying any areas to be updated, taking recent technological and economic developments into account;

24 April 2018

Tabled by the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights

Votes: 85 in favor 0 against 0 abstention

In the draft resolution, replace paragraph 6.2 with the following paragraph:

"X.X review their domestic legislation on the status of journalists with a view to: X.X.1 identifying any areas to be updated, taking recent technological and economic developments into account; X.X.2 ensuring that such legislation protects journalists from arbitrary dismissal or reprisals and from precarious working conditions that may expose them to undue pressures obliging them to depart from accepted journalistic ethics and standards; X.X.3 providing a legal definition of journalists wide enough to encompass all forms of contemporary journalistic work, including internet-based; X.X.4 repealing disproportionately restrictive defamation laws and ensuring adequate procedural guarantees in libel proceedings brought against journalists;"

In amendment 6, paragraph x.x.3, after the word "contemporary" insert the following word: "professional".

Explanatory note

In order to avoid any confusion with all content providers on the internet, who are not necessarily professionals, it is necessary to highlight in this sub-paragraph that we refer to a professional journalistic work, including internet-based.

6.3explore avenues for alternative funding in a new media ecosystem, including:
6.3.1the redistribution of advertising revenue generated by search engines or social media;
6.3.2the inclusion of freelance journalists within the scope of labour legislation in terms of minimum pay;
6.3.3the institutionalisation of innovatory crowdfunding initiatives, for example by giving decision-making power to donors providing more than 1% of registered capital;
6.4support action plans to tackle the problem of gender inequality on the labour market in the media sector, including:
6.4.1the drawing up of studies containing statistical indicators;
6.4.2the introduction of mechanisms inciting employers' organisations to seriously tackle this problem in the long term;
6.5support the involvement of representative social partners in the media sector to promote dialogue between workers and employers.

24 April 2018

Tabled by the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights

In the draft resolution, paragraph 6.5, replace the words "between workers and employees" with the following words: "between employees and freelancers, on one hand, and employers, on the other hand".

24 April 2018

Tabled by the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights

In the draft resolution, after paragraph 6.5, insert the following paragraph:

"ensure that journalists' right to freedom of association is respected, in particular as regards adhering to trade unions and journalists' associations.".

7The Assembly calls on trade unions and journalists' organisations to:

In the draft resolution, paragraph 7, delete the words: "trade unions and".

Explanatory note

The priority of this report should be on the challenges and risks journalists face and to identify solutions to challenges and protection against risks. Therefore, there is no need to refer to trade unions, as some journalists might not feel represented by trade unions but still deserve protection as individuals.

7.1adjust to rapid societal changes, including with regard to the status of journalists, which should be adaptable, as its essence lies in the tasks and not in the legal definition;
7.2promote membership, particularly among young people and women, but also among providers and managers of content, currently excluded from many trade unions, while ensuring that all members have the requisite professional expertise;

In the draft resolution, replace paragraph 7.2 with the following paragraph:

"guarantee the freedom of becoming members, particularly among young people and women, but also among providers and managers of content, while ensuring that all members have the requisite professional expertise;"

Explanatory note

The freedom to join journalists' organisations or trade unions must be protected. Therefore, there should be no reference to promoting membership, but rather to guarantee that freedom is exercised.

7.3promote the practice of mentoring for young journalists in general, enabling them to benefit from the professional experience of their more experienced colleagues, and for young female journalists in particular, to better equip them against discriminatory mentalities, harassment and sexist violence;
7.4stimulate dialogue between professional journalists and other content-provider professions on questions of quality, professional standards and responsibility;
7.5diversify themes and fields of training, adapting to the demands of the new media environment, and develop services for their members, in response to their specific requirements;
7.6represent all journalists in collective bargaining and agreements, above all for basic rights such as working hours, wages, paid leave after a certain length of service and social insurance contributions covering pensions, social security and unemployment;
7.7include and defend the rights of freelance journalists in the workplace and within social legislation in general, conferring upon them a core of common rights granted to salaried employees.
8The Assembly invites the European Federation of Journalists to promote awareness of the issues raised in this resolution among its members and to facilitate exchanges of experience and the passing on of good practices regarding high-quality journalism that follows codes of ethics and is worthy of public trust.

24 April 2018

Tabled by the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights

In the draft resolution, after paragraph 8, insert the following paragraph:

"The Assembly calls on member States to support the platform to promote the protection of journalism and safety of journalists with adequate financial contributions and by cooperating in its functioning, in particular by responding to alerts and by engaging in follow-up initiated by the Secretary General.".

24 April 2018

Tabled by the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights

Votes: 91 in favor 0 against 0 abstention

In the draft resolution, after paragraph 8, insert the following paragraph:

"The Assembly strongly condemns the assassinations of journalists Daphne Caruana Galizia in Malta, Ján Kuciak in the Slovak Republic and Maxim Borodin in the Russian Federation. It calls on the Maltese and Slovak authorities to conduct effective investigations into these deaths, in line with the procedural guarantees stemming from Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights.".

24 April 2018

Tabled by the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights

In amendment 10, second sentence, replace the words "and Slovak" with the following words: ", Slovak and Russian".