The most important decision of this first gathering was the mutual separation agreement reached with Aidan White, General Secretary of 23 years. Since taking over the reins of what was then a small Europe-dominated international, White worked hard to turn it into the international voice of journalists that it is today, a global organisation made of over 130 unions representing 650,000 journalists. The IFJ will now be actively looking to appoint a new chief executive in early next year.
This continued transition, started in Cadiz, marks a clear shift of power from Northern Europe and the Anglo-Saxon world into a much moreglobal representation of the issues of concern to journalists worldwide. The old democratic structures are now heavily influenced by the surge forward of complementary regional powers who are playing an increasingly influential role in the decision-making process. The maturity of these regional powers is now reflected in their ability to roll out major initiatives and mobilise their journalists in campaigns, organise their communications and build expertise for donor-based projects.
The leaders assembled last weekend put the final touch to their working programme for the coming period, which emerged from the deliberations at the world congress. At its heart are today’s major changes in journalism and the work of journalists. Other issues continue to be high on their agenda, such as safetyof journalists, human rights, and the enormous social changes and the momentous movement of resistance, taking place as a result of the increasing crisis of world capitalism.