Foto: Tor Johnsson

The Swedish Union of Journalists will remain a member of IFJ

The board of the Swedish Union of Journalists has today decided that the Swedish union will remain members of the International Federation of Journalists, IFJ. 

On January 31, the journalists' unions in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Iceland announced that they were leaving the IFJ. The four unions formally resign on July 31, as the IFJ applies a six-month notice period.

– When the other Nordic countries announced that they would withdrawal from the IFJ, our message was that we would analyse the consequences for Swedish membership in the IFJ. Our board has investigated, discussed and carefully considered the issue and decided that the Swedish Union of Journalists should remain in the IFJ, says Ulrika Hyllert, president of the Swedish Union.

There are several reasons behind the decision. One criticism that the Swedish union had against the IFJ was that the organization didn’t act forcefully enough against the Russian Union of Journalists, RUJ.
– Our view is that RUJ acted in an unacceptable manner in connection with Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Not least the fact that RUJ established four Russian branch offices on occupied land in Ukraine was something that we reacted very strongly to, says Ulrika Hyllert.
The decision by RUJ to open offices on Ukrainian soil, occupied by Russia, was also something that made IFJ take the decision to suspend RUJ from IFJ at a board meeting on February 23, 2023. The decision was welcomed by the Swedish Union of Journalists, but the union was at the same time critical of that fact that it took so long for the IFJ to act.

Together with the IFJ and Union to Union, the Swedish Union of Journalists run aid projects around the world with the aim of strengthening fellow journalists in their important work for free speech.

– If the Swedish union would leave the IFJ, it would not be possible to continue the projects, which would greatly reduce the opportunity for the members of the Swedish union to help colleagues around the world. In addition, the IFJ is the only worldwide trade union for journalists, says Ulrika Hyllert.
The IFJ also issues the international press cards and access to these press cards is important for the members of the union who work abroad.

The fact that the board of the Swedish union of journalists has decided to remain members of the IFJ does not mean that there are no challenges for the IFJ as an organization. There are problems within the IFJ when it comes to governance issues, such as transparency and the possibility for renewal. The criticism expressed over the years together with other Nordic unions remains.

In an overall assessment, however, the board of the Swedish union believes that the best option at the moment for the Swedish union and its member is to remain a member of the IFJ and try to change the organization in a positive direction.
– Journalists and press freedom in the world are in a difficult situation. Until IFJ's congress in 2026, the Swedish union will work to ensure that IFJ becomes a stronger and more credible organization with the ability to handle the problems that the organization's members are facing, says Ulrika Hyllert and adds;

– We will of course continue to cooperate with our sister unions in the Nordics. We have a lot in common with journalist colleagues in our neighbouring countries and the opportunity to try cooperate to try to find solutions to the challenges we face in the Nordic media market is very valuable for us as a union, says Ulrika Hyllert.

Senast ändrad 23 mars 2023