IFJ ExCom Meets in Athens

Photo:Frédéric Moreau de Bellaing

The IFJ ExCom was held in Athens on April 20-22. The ExCom, elected at the last Congress, includes representatives from Peru, Colombia, Panama, Angola, Cameroon, Somalia, Libya, Tunisia, Oman, India, Palestine, France, Germany, UK, Spain, Australia, Canada and the US.

Maybe the most pressing issue on the agenda is the developing split within the federation, and that four Nordic unions are planning to leave IFJ at the end of July. On the surface, the split was triggered over the war in Ukraine and the Nordic’s demands that the IFJ expel the Russian Union of Journalists (RUJ) for establishing branch offices in Russian-occupied territory in Ukraine. The IFJ undertook an investigation into the actions of RUJ, attempted to have a discussion with them, and in November, the ExCom voted unanimously to suspend RUJ (only the entire Congress has the power to expel a member union). The next Congress is in 2026 and that’s where the issue of RUJ will be decided. Of course, we cannot predict what the situation in Ukraine will be at that time.

A committee of three, led by Senior Vice President Zuliana Lainez (Peru) has been tasked with trying to meet with the four unions and resolve the dispute and keep them in the federation.

The meeting took up the urgent issues of how to function with a greatly reduced income, with the loss of the fees from the unions in Russia, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland. Some layoffs have already taken place and the new Deputy General Secretary will work and be paid at 80% of the normal salary. The work to support journalists in the war zone of Ukraine continues.