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Russian Journalists: Dilemmas in the Unionization. Svetlana Pasti, University of Tampere International Conference Matters of Journalism: Understanding Professional Challenges and Dilemmas, Gdansk 2012, 14-15.09. Unionization: Disconnected Ways.

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russian journalists dilemmas in the unionization

Russian Journalists:Dilemmas in the Unionization

Svetlana Pasti, University of Tampere

International Conference Matters of Journalism:

Understanding Professional Challenges and Dilemmas,

Gdansk 2012, 14-15.09

unionization disconnected ways
Unionization: Disconnected Ways

Pre-Soviet period: the 1880s – 1917: Rise of

Independent Unions

Soviet period: 1917-1992: Arm of the State

Post-Soviet period: 1992 –: Mix:

Independent/Self-Asserting

Latent Arm of State or State &Capital

Arm of the State (Media Union)

2

pre soviet period independent
Pre-Soviet period: Independent
  • 1880s: Rise of capitalism, the rise of the mass-circulation

press, its commercialization, movement towards

independence, the search for professional models

  • First professional associations:

1838 - Mutual Aid Fund of printers

1896 - Union of of Mutual Aid for Russian Writers

  • Russian journalists - in the International Congresses of

Journalists; First professional editions

pre soviet period independent1
Pre-Soviet period: Independent
  • The Tsar’s manifesto (17 October 1905) permitted freedom of speech and professional unions
  • Several journalistic organisations established:
  • Union of Journalists, Book Publishers and Book Printers
  • Union of Defence of Press Freedom (all dailies and many monthly editions of St. Petersburg)
  • Congresses of writers and journalists (1905, 1910, 1917)
  • Agenda: Questions of professional associations and education
soviet period arm of state
Soviet period: Arm of State
  • Private practice is abolished, free status of professions is transferred into state service
  • 1918, 13 November –First Congress of Soviet Journalists, Lenin as Honorary Chairman
  • 1918 first local unions of Soviet journalists - to support the young Soviet state
  • Later they transformed into sections of the press workers within the state trade unions
  • Regular Journalists’ Congresses in Moscow with the leaders of the Communist Party
soviet period arm of state1
Soviet period: Arm of State
  • 1957: Union of Journalists of USSR established with its branches in all republics and regions
  • 1959, 12-14 November: First Congress of the Union of Journalists
  • State finances the Union and provides health resorts members of the Union
  • Paid secretaries lead regional unions
  • Primary organizations of the Union - in every newspaper, radio and television
  • Number of members is 43.000 in 1971
soviet period arm of state2
Soviet period: Arm of State
  • Union of Journalists of the USSR - a creative organization aimed at the political and professional education of journalists although without real opportunities to protect journalists
  • Demands for membership:
  • High professional skill
  • Experience of staff work in the media no less than three years
  • Recommendations from the senior journalists
  • Membership as recognition of professionalism

7

post soviet period from the arm of state to independence
Post-Soviet period: From the Arm of State to Independence
  • 1992 Union of Journalists of USSR collapsed, Russian Union of Journalists established
  • In Moscow it kept the premises, but lost State support
  • Regional unions –Independent from the Central office in Moscow, do not send the member’s fees to it, as before
  • 1994 Congress of the Union accepted Code of Ethics, but it does not work
dilemmas in the unionization membership decline
Dilemmas in the Unionization: Membership Decline
  • 1992 - 60%, 2008- 42% Among them:
  • 70% of members live in small city
  • 30% of members – in big city or mid-size city

9

factors behind decline
Factors behind Decline
  • No primary organization of the Union in the medium
  • Hostile attitude of owners and heads of mediums to independent journalistic organizations and trade unions
  • Gap between the Central Union and regional unions: ‘No professional community of journalists in Russia’
  • No common rules and norms in the unionization
post soviet types of union
Post-Soviet Types of Union
  • Independent/Self-Asserting
  • Latent Arm of State
  • Latent Arm of State &Capital
  • Arm of the State (Media Union)
independent union
Independent Union
  • Very few
  • Hard survival in society: Hostile environment from the officials and business affiliated to the government
  • Hard situation within the union: Conflicting values preventing consolidation
  • Code of Ethics: Dilemma of acceptance
  • Indirect intervention of the government into the union; Prosecutions
latent arm of state and or capital
Latent Arm of State and/or Capital
  • Functionaries of government –in Board of Union
  • Functionaries of government and business in members of the Union
  • Why accepted? “In order not to be eaten up by their own people – journalists” Reply of the head of the union
  • Mechanisms of defense of journalists underdeveloped
  • Most union’s activity: festivals, celebrations of veterans, regular awarding of the important officials and journalists: journalistic awards, medals, orders
arm of state
Arm of State
  • 2001: Media Soyuz (Media Union) by the Kremlin initiative in Moscow with its branches in the regions
  • First President –Aleksander Lybimov, the famous journalist of the TV program Vzglyad
  • Generous State financing
  • 2007-2008: educational project ‘Mediacracy’ aimed at young journalists with the support of the All Russian political party Edinaya Rossia (United Russia): 1,000 journalists from 81 regions involved
  • Performs as a competitor of the present Union of Journalists of Russia in recruiting of new members
challenges for future of union
Challenges for Future of Union
  • Post-Soviet types of the Union do not inspire young:
  • Independent unions - difficulty to survive
  • Member corruption (officials and business in the journalistic union) make no sense to join
  • Aging and peripheral: Soviet generation – 76%; Post-2000 - 17%, 70% - small cities and 30% - big cities
  • No traditions of strong independent trade unions
  • Young: individualistic, highly mobile, self-interest in the profession
  • A lack of self-reflecting on the profession
insights for optimism
Insights for optimism
  • Collaboration of Russian Union of Journalists with the International Federation of Journalists
  • Learning the union’s experience in the European countries: Barents Press Annual Meetings, visits to abroad
  • 57% of journalists wish their trade union
  • New possible initiatives from young, freelancers and new media to establish their independent unions
  • Present Independent Journalistic unions acting together with the human rights NGOs
russian journalists typical portrait shifted
Russian Journalists: Typical Portrait Shifted
  • 1992 – Male, about 40, married, having children, with journalistic education and professional experience about 16 years, devoted to the profession, member in the Union of Journalists
  • 2008 – Female, under 35, married, having children, living in the large city or mid-sized city, from the middle class family, with high education, having a second job, without membership
russian journalists dilemmas in the unionization1

Russian Journalists: Dilemmas in the Unionization

Svetlana Pasti

University of Tampere

[email protected]

http://www.uta.fi/cmt/en/contact/staff/svetlanapasti/index.html

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