International Federation of Journalists has triggered a process for expelling the Russian Union of Journalists
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has triggered a formal process for suspending and expelling the Russian Union of Journalists. IFJ Deputy General Secretary Jeremy Dear said so in an emailed response to Reuters regarding corruption allegations.
Finnish, Norwegian, Danish and Icelandic unions will quit a global media federation on January 31 in protest at "corruptive activity", including allowing Russian state media journalists in Ukraine to stay as members. They accused the IFJ of "longstanding undemocratic practices, unethical finances and of allowing the Russian state media representatives to continue as members."
Hanne Aho, the chairwoman of the Union of Journalists in Finland, told Reuters that the Nordic unions had fought for years to draw attention to the problems within the Federation, but the IFJ did not take action against the Russian Union of Journalists for setting up regional journalists' associations in Ukrainian territories invaded by Russia.
"We call this corruptive activity," Aho said, adding the four Nordic unions would resign from the IFJ on Tuesday (January 31 – Ed.).
The Nordic unions also complained about what they said was the IFJ's non-transparent use of finances, including its decision to hold its world congress last year in Oman, which is an autocratic country with limited press freedom, Aho said. "Trappings at the congress were extremely flamboyant so we began to wonder where the money had come from to pay for them," Aho said.
Aho said the Union of Journalists in Finland had requested and received IFJ's budget for the congress, which showed that up to 745,000 euros ($811,000) of the total of 778,000 euros came from Omani ministries and private companies as well as the Oman Journalists' Association, while IFJ itself paid only 33,000 euros of the expenses. The IFJ said the amounts included subsidies negotiated by the Oman Journalists' Association.
The Nordic unions also condemned the low staff turnover in the governing bodies of the Federation, suspecting that the organization's internal elections may have involved undemocratic practices.
However, IFJ Deputy General Secretary Jeremy Dear denied the allegations and said that the executive committee had triggered a formal process for suspending and expelling the Russian Union of Journalists. "We entirely reject what are false, defamatory and damaging allegations," he said.
The International Federation of Journalists, which represents 600,000 journalists in 146 countries, calls itself "the global voice of journalists," many of whom strive to expose corruption and human rights violations.
On their website, the IFJ says they do not subscribe to any given political viewpoint, but promote collective action to defend human rights, democracy and media pluralism.
As IMI reported, in May 2022, the Association of Ukrainian Media, Journalists and Public Organizations "Media Movement" addressed the International Federation of Journalists, calling on it to expel the Russian Union of Journalists. This issue had already been raised at the IFJ in early March by a number of representatives of Northern European countries.
Media Movement also called on domestic authorized representatives of the IFJ (Serhiy Tomilenko of NUJU and Serhiy Shturkhetsky of IMTUU) to include this issue in the agenda of the IFJ congress, which was to be held on 31.05–03.06 in Oman.
In October, it became known that the Russian state propaganda company "All-Russian State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company" plans to open its branches in the occupied territories of Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia oblasts.
The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) condemned the establishment of branches of the Russian Union of Journalists (RUJ) in the Ukrainian territories illegally annexed by Russia and called on the RUJ to renounce these settlements.
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