Birmingham Press Club has been admitted to membership of the European Press Clubs Federation following a presentation by Press Club chairman Llewela Bailey and fellow-director Adrian Kibbler to members attending the Federation’s annual general assembly, held in Warsaw.
The Federation represents the interests of journalists in Europe, including Belarus, which has the youngest press club, having been formed in 2012.
Llewela said: “It was a great opportunity to meet our European counterparts, exchange experiences and to bring them up to speed about our own Club, the oldest one of its kind in the world.”
She added: “There was an interesting discussion about the challenges facing journalism and the impression was that whilst the decline in paid-for sales and job losses in journalism are factors in other countries the situation in the UK is more serious than in other parts of Europe.”
Adrian added: “A common issue facing clubs is the emergence of a ‘blogging community’ and the challenging question is ‘are bloggers journalists?’ The answer - some are some are not, but there was a clear view that clubs have a role in upholding journalistic standards.
“Whilst most clubs have journalists and non-journalists as members the view of other clubs was that press and the promotion of journalism should be at the key to the work of member clubs.”
He said: “It was also apparent that journalism and journalists are held in higher regard in many European countries than is the case in the UK – this is probably a feature that people in the former communist block are very aware of the importance of free speech and a free press that can be taken for granted in the UK.”
Shared best practice, joint collaboration on issues of importance relating to legislation and press freedom, information sharing and enhancement of journalistic credentials are seen as some of the benefits of membership to the Federation.
Next year’s General Assembly will be held in Lille, while Brussels will host in 2019. London will be the venue for 2020.