Media ownership is transnational, and legislation is becoming internationalized. The massive structural changes in the media economy worldwide, and particularly in Europe, presents everyone working in journalism and the mass media with heavy challenges.
Advocacy on behalf of journalists has also rapidly internationalized. The UJF is also an international association. An international committee coordinates the union’s international work.
IFJ – a global union
The UJF is a member of the International Federation of Journalists. The IFJ agenda involves major global questions, such as freedom of expression and the press, the safety of journalists, trade union rights and equality issues. Many of these problems are greater in developing countries. The quality of journalism and standard of journalistic ethics, under duress due to the global financial crisis, are pressing issues under discussion almost everywhere.
Advocacy in Europe
The union’s advocacy at EU level is done in the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ). The EFJ coordinates work on copyright (intellectual property rights), protecting journalists’ sources and trade union rights. It also arranges cooperation among European freelance journalists.
The EFJ is an important advocacy organisation concerning the EU and Council of Europe, and coordinates work on relevant companies’ activities relating to European Works Councils.
Nordic cooperation – NJF
Journalists’ unions in the Nordic countries cooperate closely in the framework of the Nordic Federation of Journalists (NJF) on everyday advocacy matters. The NJF also coordinates inter-Nordic activity in the different bodies of the EFJ and IFJ.
Other NJF member unions are the Swedish Journalists Union, the Norwegian Journalists Union, the Danish Journalists Union, the Island Journalists Union and the Faroese Union of Journalists. The presidency of the NJF rotates every two years among the member unions. Finland will hold the presidency for two years from September 2017.
A Culture of Safety
Journalism has become an increasingly dangerous profession worldwide. The UJF is a founder member of the International News Safety Institute (INSI), which monitors issues related to the security of journalists and arranges security training for journalists working in dangerous areas.
In 2016 the union joined also the ACOS Alliance, a coalition of major news companies, journalism organizations, and freelancers, who have gathered to develop and endorse worldwide freelance protection standards and work to embed them into newsrooms worldwide.
The UJF and its member associations have for many years networked with journalists in Russia. The Russian Union RUJ and the St Perersburg Union of Journalists are the main partners in Russia.
Many UJF member associations have links with Russia across Finland’s eastern border. The Journalists Association of Eastern Finland cooperates with journalists in Vyborg, and the Journalists Association of North Karelia has links with the journalists union in the Russian Karelian Republic, based in Petrozavodsk.
The UJF supports the work of the regional journalists network, Barents Press (BP), through networking and by supporting its annual conferences.
The UJF also closely cooperates with the Estonian Journalists Union.
Vikes – solidarity in action
The Finnish Foundation for Media and Development, Vikes, was founded in 2005, and has 28 member organisations.
Vikes promotes freedom of expression in four continents, working together with local and international partners in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America. The UJF supports Vikes projects wih 0,7% of the union membership fees.