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DM 2014: Unpaid work the curse of freelance classes!

11 April 2014

Unpaid work is the curse of the freelance classes, John Toner, NUJ freelance organiser, declared in a blistering attack on so-called internships and the use by media bosses of 'free content'.

"The rise of the internet and digital technology has made it possible for millions of people to write, take photographs and video, and upload them for public access. This is described as 'content' – because to describe it as work would be to accept that it has value.
"And so our planet is daily deafened by a billion virtual voices screaming their virtual opinions; a billion egos who believe their opinions are of interest to someone other than their cat."

John Toner's response to those publishers who asked why they should pay for content when they could get it for free was: why should I pay to download your content if you don't think it's worth paying for yourself?

He said the need for a framework of freelance rights had never been greater, and in the coming year the NUJ should press the TUC to address this issue with greater urgency.

He concluded:

"A high-profile campaign that demonstrates to self-employed people that the union movement considers them a priority would pull in thousands of new members and give us the ability to effect the real changes needed to enable freelances to earn a living wage."

Tags: , freelance, interns, Eastbourne, dm2014, conference, democracy, internet, new media, john toner