Fascism, neo-nazis and racism - global challenges for journalism
Pictured at the two-day conference in Greece are IFJ president, Jim Boumelha, JUADN president, Maria Antoniado, and Tim Shafir, of the RUJ. - © JUADN
20 March 2014
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) attended a major conference last weekend to discuss the role journalists can play in the fight against neo-nazism, fascism and racism in Greece, Europe and around the globe.
Organised by the Cultural Foundation of the Journalists Union of Athens Daily Newspapers, the two-day conference, which ran from 14-15 March, examined "the role of media and journalists on the rise of neo-nazism, fascism and racism in Greece, Europe and all over the world."
The high profile meeting also considered the prospect of the IFJ helping Greek unions create an international media project aiming on informing and activating society against nazism, fascism and racism.
Plans to launch the project were agreed in an urgent motion passed at IFJ's world congress in June 2013 in which all of IFJ's Greek affiliates noted the terror campaign being carried out by Golden Dawn against media workers in Greece.
In the motion IFJ congress instructed the incoming executive committee to -
"Initiate an 'international watch against spreading racist hate' (project IWASRH) in order to record, denounce and campaign against neo-nazi and neo-fascist actions which target investigative journalism, journalists, media organizations, IFJ members and other civil society organizations and activists."
Since the motion was passed, the IFJ has issued a number of statements condemning the actions of Golden Dawn members against Greek journalists, including an attack against STAR TV journalist Panagiotis Bousis Boussios who was beaten up while filming a protest in Iraklion Athens suburb.
The conference was attended by IFJ president Jim Boumelha, along with representatives from a number of IFJ affiliates, including Franco Siddi, general secretary of the FNSI, Tim Shafir, from the Russian Union of Journalists (RUJ), and Oleksii Boiko, from the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine (NUJU).
Speaking at the conference, IFJ president Jim Boumelha, said:
"Such a campaign is now absolutely necessary not just here in Greece but in many countries in Europe, the continent which gave birth to fascism in the 1930's, and which is now experiencing a resurgence of the pedlars of hate in many countries. The IFJ has reacted whenever any of our colleagues here have come under attack from the thugs of Golden Dawn.
"I am grateful for the efforts of our Greek unions in advancing such a strong wake up call to the rest of their sister unions in Europe. If we look at the new texture of far-right sub-cultures, neo-fascists do not just target Muslims and Roma, but also civil society groups as well as our unions, and journalists too, are being subjected to far-right political violence."
In her opening address, Maria Antoniadou, JUADN President, said:
"In spite of the initial surprise, I believe democracy and Greek journalism have reacted. Media work to expose 'Golden Dawn' activity and all sorts of similar points of view has been carried out by Greek journalists' shedding light on the dark corners of this case.
"So now what is to be done? Do we rest after our findings? No way. In cooperation with the IFJ, we are considering the possibility of setting up an international watch dog aimed at informing and awakening society against neo-Nazism, fascism and racism."
Many Greek journalists took part in the conference, along with representatives from journalists' unions, all of the Greek political parties, the UNCHR Refugee Agency in Greece, the Athens and Thessaloniki University media faculties, the Greek Teachers Federation, the Central Board of the Jewish Communities in Greece, the ethnic minority community (gypsy-Roma) and community groups from Athens neighborhoods that are working to counter neo-Nazi, fascist and racist activities.