Quelle: Socialist Appeal <socappeal@EASYNET.CO.UK>
The struggle of 31 journalists at The Jerusalem Post is far more than a
labor dispute, and on the
journalists' side it is not an argument over money. It is a fight for a free press and for the professional dignity of the journalists employed by Hollinger Inc., a multinational media corporation headed by Conrad Black.
This is a fight that should concern all journalists in Israel - and elsewhere -because what is happening at The Jerusalem Post is but one aspect of the steady debasing of the profession of journalism here. There's little status involved, because journalists are the punching bags of politicians and are blamed for all the country's ills. At the same time, media owners are trying to drive salaries down. In the end, just as few people today aspire to become teachers, few will aspire to become journalists, and the public will be the loser.
This is a fight that should concern every resident or citizen of Israel because The Jerusalem Post has always been this country's window to the world. It is crucial that the newspaper read around the world (and now read on the Internet by millions of people) should retain its professional standards. But it cannot if journalists are intimidated by management and threatened with dismissal (as happened to our colleague Steve Rodan, who was not employed on the collective agreement) for writing a story that is "politically incorrect." The point of a collective agreement is to provide a measure of security that will allow journalists to do their jobs properly.
Please read additional information about our struggle on a Web site
See, also, the AP story below.
Forwarding this information to everyone on your mailing list and asking them to send it to their mailing lists. Most important is pressure on the owners and publisher through letters of protest. But be sure to cut and paste the message, so the original e-mail address is not on it. We can't afford to lose our jobs for this.
Letters can say something like:
We view with great concern the danger to the freedom of the press at The Jerusalem Post and the ability of people around the world to know what is happening in Israel. The collective agreement, which provides a measure of security to journalists, enables them to report the truth without having to fear they will be dismissed for writing something that is "politically incorrect."
I support the struggle of the editorial staff and ask that you reinstate the existing collective agreement, which has served both the paper and the journalists well for many years.
Letters should go to publisher Tom Rose, with copies to David Radler and Conrad Black.
Write or fax:
Attention: Conrad Black
fax: 00 44 207 538 6242,
Attention: Conrad Black
2nd Floor, 1827 West 5th Avenue
Vancouver BC, V6J 1P5
Tom Rose, publisher
The Jerusalem Post
P.O. Box 81
91 000 Jerusalem
Jerusalem Post dispute to go to government arbitrator
JERUSALEM (AP) Management and staff at Israels oldest English-language newspaper are taking their bitter and deadlocked dispute to a government arbitrator, both sides said Wednesday.
The Jerusalem Posts Canadian owner, Conrad Blacks Hollinger Group LtdConrad Blacks Hollinger Group Ltd., wants to end the collective agreement with employees at the newspaper, effectively breaking its union.
Staff say that a compromise agreement that would have allowed the management to renegotiate firing and hiring procedures was rebuffed by management last week. Publisher Tom Rose denied that there had been any compromise agreement.
As a result of the deadlock which will soon enter its second year the Labor Ministrys supervisor of labor relations has asked the sides to meet with her on Thursday.
Staff accuse management of increasingly ugly tactics in recent weeks, including keeping news of the dispute out of the paper.
Last week, legislators belonging to parliaments labor committee expressed
rare across-the-board support for the workers, and the countrys trade
federation said it was considering a country wide ban on printing
the paper should its staffers strike.
News of both developments was heavily censored by management, staff say, and Sam Orbaum, a popular columnist, was prevented from publishing an impassioned plea to management to compromise.
The newspaper is not an organ for potential strikers, Rose said in response.
The unadulterated copy now appears on a website maintained by the unionizes staffers.
Esther Hecht, who runs the Posts editing desk, said guards armed with pistols are patrolling the offices now, including the newsroom. Management has said it fears sabotage attempts in the event a strike takes place.
Its really depressing, especially considering the Hanukkah season, Hecht said, referring to the usually joyous Jewish festival of lights.
Rose says the collective agreement is keeping him from making the cutbacks necessary to saving the newspaper and that without that, everyone would be out of a job.
The relatively small Jerusalem Post has become an embarrassing thorn in the side for Hollinger, a company that has successfully driven organized labor out of newsrooms in Canada, the United States and Britain yet has not broken the 31 organized editorial staff at the Post in its 10 years of ownership.
Hollinger brought Rose in last year. Two previous Hollinger-appointed publishers failed to drive out the union.
The paper, called The Palestine Post when it was founded in 1932, has 60,000 overseas subscriptions and a popular Internet website, serving asa main source of news about Israel.