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This weekend I should have been in Istanbul as part of the NUJ delegation to the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) annual meeting. But along with two others I’m grounded. Only John Barsby, who had to leave a day earlier for a meeting of the steering committee, missed the cloud. How he will get back is another matter!

Although a number of delegates were unable to get off the ground, the meeting is going ahead and at my last count there were some 29 motions to debate plus any emergencies.

The NUJ submitted four (including one emergency on the cuts at the BBC). The first on authors’ rights and extended collective licensing is an important issue in Europe and there is an expert group of the EFJ steering committee (the authors’ rights expert group) which carries out the detailed work in Europe. There are at least three other motions on the same topic which indicates Europe wide union concerns. The second motion from the NUJ is on the future of public service and independent broadcasting in Europe; the third is about the use of anti-terrorism legislation against photographers and asks that the steering committee steps up its work against the abuses of this legislation, which is a problem not just confined to the UK. The emergency motion on cuts at the BBC calls on the meeting to condemn the cuts, which if successful could give confidence to other European public service broadcasters to attempt similar cut backs and asks the steering committee to offer support and solidarity for our union’s anti-cuts campaign.

Details of all the motions can be seen on the EFJ web site at:

In addition the meeting also discusses the activities of the Federation and its expert groups since the last annual meeting and sets out the working programme for the next three years. The meeting also elects a new steering committee for the three year term.

A report of the annual report will appear on the EFJ web site (detailed above).