Estonian Association of Journalists not ready to quit IFJ following Nordics

TV cameras.
TV cameras. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The Estonian Association of Journalists (EAL) agrees with criticism Nordic journalists' associations have for the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) but will not yet join Finnish, Danish, Norwegian and Icelandic associations in quitting the federation, EAL chair Helle Tiikmaa said.

"We support the Nordics' criticism of the IFJ, while we are not capable of or ready to take such a step at this time," Tiikmaa told ERR on Wednesday.

"First of all, this would require convening our annual congress as these are not board-level decisions. Secondly, the International Press Card is an important tool for many EAL members and we would need to find an alternative before we can truly pull out," Tiikmaa explained.

"That said, we are consulting with Latvia and Lithuania and weighing how we could support the Nordics," the EAL manager said.

The Union of Journalists in Finland (UJF) on Tuesday said that Finnish, Danish, Norwegian and Icelandic journalists' associations have decided to leave the IFJ. Sweden will remain a member at this time.

The associations that have decided to quit pointed to the IFJ's inability to stop working with the government-controlled Russian Union of Journalists, its decision to accept the separatist Union of Journalists of Abkhazia, in addition to leveling accusations of corruption.

Tiikmaa said that the EAL also feels the IFJ has not handled things properly. "The International Federation of Journalists should not sully its reputation as an organization for the protection of journalists by doing nothing."

"Their (Nordic associations' – ed.) experiences are far more extensive, and we do not really have the capacity to keep tabs on an international organizations' affairs. However, we also feel that things are not right," she added.

Tiikmaa said that the role of the IFJ for EAL has been largely limited to the International Press Card (IPC) and EAL activities are being handled through the European Journalists Association.

"As concerns the very drastic steps taken by Nordic associations, we understand that it is only possible to compromise to a certain point or keep listening to excuses and explanations for so long," she remarked.

The EAL manager said that the association's congress is usually held before summer, which is where the matter can be raised.

EAL pays the IFJ an annual membership fee of €1,000, while it pays four times less to the Europan Journalists Association for genuine support and cooperation possibilities.

All Nordics remain members of the Europan Journalists Association.

In late October, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, Icelandic, Estonian and Lithuanian journalists' unions urged the IFJ to evict the Russian Union of Journalists as its activities support Russia's aggression in Ukraine.


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Editor: Mait Ots, Marcus Turovski

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