A new charter to show the way forward for freelance media workers

A new charter of rights for freelance journalists has been adopted, which defines specific remuneration rates and payment deadlines.

The announcement:

A historic meeting of freelance media workers from across Australia has approved a new bill of rights that will form the basis of the campaign to set a floor on wages and conditions and protect quality journalism.

The charter was unanimously endorsed last night by an online meeting of over 120 freelance journalists, photographers, writers, editors, producers, cartoonists and illustrators who produce a growing amount of content for Australian print, digital and broadcast media. .


The charter will be used as the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance pursues collective media agreements that set out minimum compensation rates and payment terms.

“Independent contributors are a vital part of the Australian media industry more than at any time in our history,” said Erin Delahunty, freelance journalist and Federal Vice President of MEAA Media.

“As media outlets have cut permanent staff in a bid to cut costs, they have turned to freelancers to produce content that was previously produced in-house.

“But despite its importance to the media, independent journalism operates without the safety net of labor rights. Many freelancers are being exploited with declining wages and conditions, hampering the ability of Australian journalists to produce the quality journalism our communities deserve.

“As any freelancer will tell you: there is no minimum wage; there is no job security; the retirement pension is almost non-existent; payments are often late; and kill rare fees. Freelancers can also struggle to retain copyright in their work, and often lack the defamation protection that in-house journalists have under the guise of their employer.

“Until now, the media have been able to exploit the absence of any salary framework to pay what they want. This race to the bottom must stop and freelancers are now coming together to demand change. »

MEAA Media Deputy Director Cassie Derrick said the new bill of rights sets out specific pay rates and payment deadlines.

It was developed following a national survey of freelance journalists last year, which found that more than 60% of freelancers earn less than half the Australian average weekly wage from their work in the media.

The terms covered by the charter include pay rates, including annual raises, one-time payment, indemnity, copyright, “killing fees” and ethics.

Over the next few months, the charter will form the basis of negotiations with the media to anchor minimum wage rates and other conditions in collective agreements with freelancers.

Source: MEAA press release

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