The professional organisation principle has been a given for the Union of Journalists since its formation in 1901. The Union now has approximately 15,000 members.
As a trade union, the Swedish Union of Journalists is, in common with every other trade union, tasked with promoting “its members’ union, economic and social” interests, and as a professional organisation, it must promote “idealistic interests and promote the establishment of high standard of professional ethics”. The idealistic interests include preserving freedom of expression, freedom of the press, openness in society and diversity in the media, and safeguarding journalists’ rights as authors, and professional ethics and, hence, journalistic integrity.
The Swedish Union of Journalists only organises journalists and the union’s statutes thus define who can become a member. An individual must be employed or work as a freelancer and their work must primarily comprise journalistic activities on behalf of a Swedish mass medium, or one which operates in Sweden. Since 2019 journalists newly arrived in Sweden are also welcomed, they can apply for an associated membership.
Journalistic activities comprise the independent production, selection, evaluation or editorial reworking of material on behalf of mass media, or other journalistic activities compatible with The Swedish Union of Journalists’ professional rules.
Everyone who applies for and accepts membership of the Union of Journalists simultaneously enters into a contract with the union. This contract confers both rights and obligations – the members promise to comply with the union’s statutes and code of professional ethics and to not damage the reputation of journalists as a professional body.
As a member of the Union of Journalists, the journalist is entitled to obtain advice and information from the union and, when necessary, to legal protection in everything relating to the exercise of their profession. Members who are in dispute with their employer with regard to contractual interpretation, conditions of work and employment, for example, is entitled to the help and support which the union believes they require to ensure that their legitimate demands are met.
The Swedish Union of Journalists issues membership cards/press cards to its members. This is the only journalistic ID that guarantees that the holder has undertaken to comply with the ethical rules of the media industry.
The union negotiates locally and centrally on behalf of its members. At the local level, it is the branches that negotiate on behalf of the members’ rights and promote them.
Cooperation with other Nordic journalist organisations through the Nordic Federation of Journalists (NJF) and those of other countries through the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), enables the Swedish Union of Journalists to engage in journalistic issues on the international front as well.
The supreme decision-making body of the The Swedish Union of Journalists is its congress, which meets every three years. The congress elects the union’s executive committee, which has its seat in Stockholm in the Journalisternas Hus building at Vasagatan 50, where the union’s secretariat is also based.
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