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Media: Trouble At AFP

  • May 27th, 2011
  • Posted by EUEditor

paris-afp-and-signs-004.jpgJournalists at AFP (Agence France Presse), one of the principal four news agencies of the world, are taking strike action over a change in the company’s corporate statutes.

The European Federation  of Journalists released the following statement in support of the 24-hour stoppage (26-27.5.11):

The AFP is a leading press agency in Europe and across the world. Its independence is therefore of crucial importance not only for all the journalists it employs, but also for journalists and media which use its material, and in the end the public who relies on the credibility of AFP.

The AFP is threatened by a draft bill amending its statutes of 1957, which allowed it to grow and remain independent over the years.

The draft bill, proposed without any internal consultation, proposes a new composition of the board with fewer representatives of the media and a new “agreement” with the state, thus weakening the independence of the AFP vis-à-vis the political power.

Its funding levels are also threatened by the proposal to register AFP as an ordinary commercial company so that “public subscription allocated to Agence France-Presse in public interest missions shall not exceed the amount of net cost of these obligations”.

Unions and journalists say that any amendment of the statutes requires a debate within the company; that the proposal should be agreed by the staff; and that any decision at the French Parliament or the Senate should be based on a broad majority.

All unions voted in favour of a motion in defiance of the management announcing their strong disagreement, and one, the SNJ-CGT voted for a 24 hour strike.

The EFJ supports the struggle of AFP journalists for the independence of their agency and calls on the management to open serious talks with the staff.

Picture  AFP building, Paris