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IFJ Condemns Bleak Manifesto of Newspaper Publishers in Face of Crisis
July 19, 2010The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the biggest journalists' group in the world, today condemned a call from newspaper publishers for more job losses in journalism across the globe.
The IFJ says a survey of the publishers' association, the World Association of Newspapers (WAN), which is advocating more outsourcing and reduction of the workforce in the newsrooms is a "manifesto for destruction of quality journalism."
"The world's newspaper bosses, including many editors, are taking the knife to the ethical and quality journalism," said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. "Their strategy is simply slash-and-burn. They seek staff outsourcing, job losses and reduction of newspaper publishing. This is a complete betrayal of journalism as a public good."
The IFJ says that the bleak outlook of employers dramatically contrasts with that of the world movement of journalists which at the IFJ Congress in Cadiz in May adopted a report on the future of journalism - Journalism in Touch with the Future - which calls for fresh thinking in the industry and among unions and, above all, for a rekindling of commitment to independent journalism in the service of democracy.
But employers have developed an approach which gives a priority to the bottom line of business interests. On 12 July the World Association of Newspapers published their survey Million Dollar Strategies for Newspaper Companies which explicitly encourages "reduction of employees, consolidation of offices and printing plants, integration of multiple media staff members, consolidation of sub-editing and production units, shrinkage of newspaper widths and number of sections and reduction of publishing on certain days of the week".
"Not a word about standards, about democracy, about the citizens' right to know - merely a manifesto for cuts in the quality of journalism upon which democracy depends," said White.
The IFJ Report on the Future of Journalism by contrast identifies the need for more journalism as new forms of communications emerged across the world in the past years.
The report states: "New technologies have opened up fantastic possibilities to gather, compare and draw conclusions from huge amounts of information (...); however journalists are frustrated by the way in which some media companies are denying them sufficient resources to take full advantage of the changes." The report also identified ways to develop new forms of journalism such as collaborative journalism, "augmented reality" journalism, more investigation and more immersion in the subject of the reports.
"But this development of journalism as a public good needs time, adequate training, resources and commitment to the values of journalism as a public good," says White. "Our employers have a blinkered view. They see only the need for profit. They sacrifice quality, they cut jobs and working conditions, they deny journalists the right to form unions. This lack of vision and commitment to the future is profoundly destructive."
He said that journalists now see themselves increasingly divorced from the media that appear to have abandoned the core principles of pluralism and press freedom. "Democracy relies upon good journalism and our people are determined to preserve it, even if employers have lost their way. It is up to journalists to restore trust in journalism and to encourage new voices," said White.
For more information contact:
International Federation of Journalists
Phone: +32 235 2207
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