EFJ Commends Initiative on Employers’ Actions on Journalists’ Protection in Germany

Ricardo Gutiérrez
General Secretary, European Federation of Journalists

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) has commended an initiative by an alliance of journalists’ organizations, media unions and advisory institutions in Germany which enables journalists in the country to find out whether their employers or clients have joined a code of conduct to better protect journalists through the website Schutzkodex.

In signing up to the code, which includes practical measures such as psychological, legal and financial support for those affected in the event of verbal or physical violence and their families, media companies declare their willingness to implement important standards to protect their employees and freelancers as violence against media workers in different forms such as hate speech, online threats or physical attacks is rapidly increasing in Europe.

The General Secretary of the German Journalists Union (dju in ver.di), Monique Hoffman said the best way for media companies to dutifully care for their workers is to join the protection code and implement it consistently. The Director of the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), Renate Schroeder also emphasised that it is high time German media houses and other affiliates throughout Europe join the code of conduct and take the protection of their staff seriously.

The Media Freedom Rapid Response mechanism in Germany monitored 119 attacks against press workers and media in 2021 which was a significant increase compared to the two previous years.

Journalists can check employers or clients who have joined the code of conduct and those who have not can easily join via the website. So far media outlets like SPIEGELZEITZEIT ONLINEFrankfurter RundschaudpaSüddeutsche Zeitungtaz and Südwestdeutsche Medienholding have all joined the initiative.

The website offers online get-togethers for small groups of affected journalists in a safe space and registrations are open for the next meeting scheduled for March 22, 2022.