The IFJ Executive Committee convenes for the first time this week-end in a crisis context. Since the disputed IFJ Congress in Dublin, the divisions are indeed deeper then ever within the Federation. After a Canadian member-union, the Uruguayan union of journalists resigned from the IFJ, while the Dutch union suspended its relation. The Norwegians decided to stay on-board but nevertheless expressed their loss of thrust in the irregularly reelected IFJ President: when this one met with the Scandinavian unions in Stockholm, last September, he obviously failed to meet their demands.
These very last days, the climate worsened again between the Norwegian union and the irregularly reelected IFJ President, who obviously didn’t appreciate a well-documented report on the internal dissensions within the Federation published by the Norwegian union’s information magazine. He plaid then the Calimero, pretending to be “demonized”
If this were not enough, meanwhile, two IFJ Australian employees were arrested while on mission in Sidney, and promptly accusations were published in the Island’s media accusing the irregularly reelected IFJ President..
It’s very difficult to have an opinion on this very last question. But reading the resignation of the Uruguayan union and the report in the Norwegian magazine shows evidently that agreements behind the scene have shaped the successive elections of the now irregularly reelected IFJ President. From my very participation to an IFJ Congress, in Recife, 1998, I was of course well aware that coalitions were built by each of those elections. And one could object that I was supported by an alliance of Scandinavian and German unions, when I was a candidate in Dublin. The very difference is that I didn’t seek those supports, and moreover I didn’t promise anything to those very unions. My opponent has proven a master in promises, and he knows obviously better then anyone that promises only bind those… who believe them.
This would be anecdotic, if it weren’t dramatic in a context where so many journalists in the world live in such dramatic circumstances. The divisions in the IFJ, of which the irregularly reelected President is largely responsible, must dismay them. And the worst is that that those divisions will grow within the coming years, paralyzing the IFJ more then ever…