Introduction
The aim of this survey is to map out the existing practices and gather information to develop better policy to ensure the fair and safe working conditions for journalists when telework/home office practices continue to exist after the pandemic. In “normal” circumstances, home working arrangements are implemented on a voluntary basis between employers and workers, often accompanied by a signed agreement setting out terms and conditions. However, during and since the Covid-19 pandemic, home working has been imposed on workers, including journalists, as a compulsory way of working. This happened first as a public health measure and then as a way to develop or to impose new forms of work arrangement.
The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) has been very outspoken on labour rights of journalists since the outbreak of the pandemic[1], focusing mainly on health and safety issues for journalists. Some international organisations such as the UNESCO also investigated the possible long-term impact of the pandemic on labour conditions and conflicts[2]. The present survey summarises some of these elements and aims at looking at future perspectives for journalists’ unions and associations in times of “hybrid work”.

Methodology

In order to draft this survey, the EFJ Labour rights expert group (LAREG) prepared and circulated a questionnaire (see copy in Annex) to its affiliated organisations across Europe[3]. This short survey aims at being accurate but not exhaustive: we received 20 answers to the questionnaire coming from 20 countries (in red on the map) and more information was received through testimonies and desk-research from other countries (un orange on the map). The content was also developed thanks to the contributions made during the webinar on 22-23 September 2021.
It is therefore fair to say that the survey provides a broad statistical overview of the situation of journalists’ unions and associations on the issue of teleworking at national level, with some examples of good practices at company level. Other data were gathered through EFJ activities and desk research. Unless specified otherwise, the information and quotes in this document are extracts of the replies to the questionnaire.
The main challenges and issues for journalists working from home are similar to some other professions, and the questions asked to the unions and associations of journalists took the following aspects into account:
  • Is telework / home office voluntary or compulsory?
  • Is telework / home office implemented on a full-time basis or a hybrid way?
  • What are the main consequences in terms of salary, working-time and work-life balance?
  • What are the main consequences in terms of health and safety, both physical and mental?
  • Do journalists have a “right to disconnect”?
The survey also takes into account the role and the expectations of the unions and associations:
  • Is telework / home office covered by national regulations?
  • Is telework / home office subject to collective agreements, sectorial or at company-level?
  • How to reach out to journalists at the usual working place?
  • What are the plans of the unions and associations of the future where “hybrid work” will become the norm?
At the end of the survey, some key principles and recommendations to guarantee labour rights of journalists working from home are proposed.
[1] https://europeanjournalists.org/covid-19/ [2] See for example “Supporting journalism around the world in times of Covid-19” https://en.unesco.org/news/supporting-journalism-around-world-times-covid-19 and “Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on media sustainability in Latin America”, 2021, https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000377631_eng [3] https://europeanjournalists.org/members/
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Contents
Methodology