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Athens News Agency: News in English, 11-10-14

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] EFJ: Journalists are not Civil Servants
  • [02] Strike at AMNA continues
  • [03] AMNA an intrinsic service to democracy

  • [01] EFJ: Journalists are not Civil Servants

    (Thursday, October 13) - Today the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the European group of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) voiced its opposition to the government's plans to integrate journalists working in public broadcasting and National News Agencies in the payroll of civil servants.

    "Working in public media does not mean that you are a civil servant, quite the contrary: journalists are accountable to the public and they need to be independent politically and economically from the government," said the EFJ President Arne Konig. "It would be a very bad signal for journalists' credibility and independence if a member country of the European Union would merge journalists with the rest of the public sector."

    The Greek government, under the pressure of international and European monetary institutions, wants to integrate all employees of the public media in a single unified payroll for all the public sector. This means that journalists employed by ERT (Greek Public Television) and ANA-MPA (Athens - Macedonian News Agency) would be considered as civil servants, but also that they would not be covered anymore by their current collective agreement.

    "We feel that our 'classification' to the status of a civil servant is detrimental to our role as independent journalists," say the EFJ affiliates, the Journalists Union of Athens Daily Newspapers (ESIEA) and the Journalists' Union of Macedonia and Thrace Daily Newspapers (ESIEM-TH). "Journalists working in public media need to have the guarantee of their freedom to report independently in a time when the Greek audience requires honest, level-headed and unbiased information. This freedom is also ensured through the current National Collective Agreement for journalists."

    The EFJ asks Elias Mossialos, the Government's Spokesman and State Minister responsible for Press Matters, to take these views into account and it reminds Greek authorities that the independence of public broadcasting is recognised by the Council of Europe and by binding EU case-law.

    [02] Strike at AMNA continues

    The staff of the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (AMNA, formerly ANA-MPA), has been on strike since dawn Thursday and will continue until 6:00 a.m. on Saturday, taking part in a 48-hour strike called by the Athens Journalists Union (ESIEA), in protest of government measures that, apart from severe pay cuts, will size-down the agency and affect the independence of its operation and the news and information it provides.

    This move by the socialist PASOK government of Greece affects not only AMNA, but all public media in Greece, including the state television and broadcasting corporation ERT, municipal radio, the government's press and communications services, and ministry and embassy press offices in Greece and abroad.

    In their firm belief that the media profession is a social service and not a 'public utility', as the AMNA has been re-classified by the government, and in a further effort to safeguard the independence and professional integrity of AMNA and its journalists, the AMNA staff has issued a call to fellow journalists and professional associations in Greece and abroad to take a stand on this issue, which is critical for the very foundations of democracy and freedom of the press.

    The response was immediate, and the Greek government has come under heavy fire, while statements of support for AMNA and all the public media in Greece continue to pour in, with the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) (the European group of the International Federation of Journalists-IFJ) topping the list.

    [03] AMNA an intrinsic service to democracy

    Apostolos Kaklamanis, former president of the Greek parliament statement of support to AMNA

    The ANA-MPA must not be undermined and disappear, as many would like for specific purposes and 'values', and be forced to descend step-by-step into moral and political debasement.

    ANA-MPA is a fundament of responsibility and intrinsic service to democracy. It is at the service of public information, because we are not in an era of partisanism and governmentalism.

    I am of the opinion that, with the landscape that has been formulated, no one has the right to say that he is unaware that, in the field of information, it is chiefly the private businesspersons who, through their (media) stations, inform and entertain everyone.

    The role of the Public Communication and Information Media, such as ERT and the Athens News Agency, is a very important one. ANA-MPA, which some quarters forget that it has a very serious national mission, following its merger with the Macedonian Press Agency (MPA), links our country more closely with the neighbouring peoples. ANA-MPA is of great importance to the broadcasting of the parliament's work so that this immediately and directly reaches all the regions of the country. It is in this direction that the government should draft the bill that is up for vote.

    Of course, ANA-MPA may not have impeccable operation, which is something that we should all take care to develop, rather than restrict, but its role is nevertheless decisive for the freedom and independence of journalism.

    In that same context ET-1 (television channel of ERT state broadcasting corporation) must not be restricted or shut down, as it produces culture and promotes objective information to the people.


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