DJ in English
The Danish Union of Journalists, founded in 1961, is a trade union for people who work in journalism, media and communications.
We currently have 17.800 members who are permanently employed or work freelance as journalists, photographers, cartoonists, TV producers, directors of documentaries, communicators, etc.
Danish Union of Journalists - Media & communication
Gammel Strand 46
DK-1202 Copenhagen K
Phone +45 3342 8000
We seek to secure respect for press freedom as well as optimum working conditions for our members, their rights as authors, and their opportunities for skills enhancement. We seek to encourage the media and communication sectors to actively promote openness and dialogue in society.
We do this by optimising the quality of jobs and professions within the field of media and communication and by actively contributing to national and international debates on freedom of the press. Our activities rely on membership fees, as we are independent of party-political interests.
International work and safety
Although Denmark is a small country, the Danish Union of Journalists is one of the main contributors to the international safety of journalists’ work. The union’s various specialised groups, employee associations and geographical districts donate €60-70,000 every year to the DJ Safety Fund, administered by International Media Support.
Another example of our international work is our involvement in the International News Safety Institute (INSI). INSI provides real-time practical information, training and research to help journalists around the world to perform their work in safety.
Assistance to foreign journalists
The international involvement of the Danish Union of Journalists primarily takes place via the International Federation of Journalists and the European Federation of Journalists. However, we are also active at the Nordic level as part of the Nordic Federation of Journalists – a network-facilitating hub for knowledge exchange, problem-solving and coordination between journalist unions in the Nordic countries.
Freedom of the press
The vision of the Danish Union of Journalists states that the union must actively contribute to national and international debates on freedom of expression. This means that we constantly seek to promote the cause of freedom of expression through public debate or via direct communication with the authorities.
In cases where a media company or journalist is accused of breaking the law in their journalistic work, the Danish Union of Journalists plays an active role. In this work, we believe that freedom of expression and the interests of the public should always be in focus.
Internationally, the Danish Union of Journalists is active on many fronts. In our part of the world, journalists generally experience a high degree of press freedom and good working conditions. We therefore see it as our duty to assist other countries where conditions are less favourable. In this connection, we participate in various international activities aimed at improving conditions for a free press.
Head of Communications Troels Johannesen
The Danish Union of Journalists believes that strong membership democracy is the best way to ensure a strong and relevant trade union with a close relationship to its members.
Consequently, the 15 members of the central board are elected from and by members at our meeting of delegates, which takes place every second year. Several hundred members attend the meeting, and the members of the central board are elected from across the organisation.
The president and the vice-president work full-time for the Danish Union of Journalists, where they are responsible for the day-to-day management, together with the director, who bears the overall responsibility for administration.
Under the central board, special policy committees are set up for two-year periods to prepare policy decisions for adoption by the board. The committees work within a broad range of areas of interest to the Danish Union of Journalists, including media, education and employment policies, trade union matters and equality issues.
Members who share a professional interest have established a number of specialised groups within the Danish Union of Journalists which network and share knowledge among their members. In addition, the Danish Union of Journalists is geographically divided into districts. Denmark and Greenland contain eight different districts in which members work in collaboration to improve working conditions in their region.
The secretariat of the Danish Union of Journalists consists of administrative units and a group of consultants, each with their own specialties, who advise members and act as a point of contact for various member groups and their union representatives. Employees of the Danish Union of Journalists are organised into smaller units specialising in law, the working environment, professional advice, career guidance and communication.
The Unemployment Fund for Journalism, Communication and Language is also associated with the Danish Union of Journalists. Most members of the Danish Union of Journalists are also members of the Fund, which provides a safety net for members, securing them an income if they lose their jobs. The compensation is paid through the special Danish unemployment benefit system, which guarantees members of unemployment funds a minimum income.
The official Danish press card is visible proof of membership of the Danish Union of Journalists, and all members are entitled to one. In Denmark, the press card is respected by organisations and authorities. The press card of the Danish Union of Journalists grants entry beyond police cordons to allow the press to report from the centre of events.
The Danish Union of Journalists is therefore in continuous dialogue with the Danish police to uphold respect for the press card among authorities and cardholders. As of 2010, the Danish Union of Journalists press card also functions as an international press card, with the logo of the International Federation of Journalists.
Self-regulation is a key term for Danish media workers. Press ethics is part of the curriculum of all journalism degree programmes, and the debate about ethics in journalism is often high on the agenda among Danish journalists.
The Danish “Advisory Rules for Sound Press Ethics” is the basis of ethically-responsible journalism in Denmark. In 1991, two new clauses were added to the rules. The first of these states that a journalist is not required to accept assignments that conflict with the individual’s conscience or conviction. The second clause states that it is a breach of press ethics to prevent the justified publication of information of importance to the general public. Additionally, it is a breach of press ethics to allow a third party to influence mass media content if this raises doubts about the freedom and independence of the mass media.
If, as occasionally happens, media organisations or individual journalists are accused of contravening the rules for good press ethics, they are required to appear in front of the Danish Press Council. The Danish Press Council is an independent public tribunal that deals with complaints about the mass media. It is composed of representatives from the media, the courts and the public. If a media company is criticised by the Press Council, the company in question is compelled to publish the decision of the Press Council, if requested to do so. The Danish Union of Journalists nominates the industry’s representative to the Press Council.
In the case of infringements of the law or acts resulting in claims for damages due to the publication of material in a mass medium covered by the Media Liability Act, the Danish Press Council determines whether legal action is warranted. In general, liability attaches to the person under whose name and with whose consent the material was written, photographed or expressed.
Becoming a member
You can become a member of the Danish Union of Journalists if you work in journalism, media or communication, irrespective of whether you are a permanent employee or freelancer. However, the Union sets a minimum requirement for your monthly wage.
For permanently employed staff and freelancers, the minimum wage is 17,918 Danish kroner per month.
If you are a freelance photographer / photojournalist, the minimum wage is 26,877 Danish kroner per month.
The union contingent for full-paying members is 390 Danish kroner per month. In addition, you will pay 70 Danish kroner to the Safety Fund. You also pay between 20 and 50 Danish kroner to become a member of one of the union’s geographical districts, and between 20 and 100 Danish kroner to become a member of a specialised group, an interest group or a specialized association.
The contingent for the Unemployment Fund for Journalism, AJKS, is 442 Danish kroner per month.
A typical member will pay around 950 Danish kroner per month in total.
Unemployed members, recipients of sickness benefit, persons on early retirement, senior citizens and students all have reduced contingents, and pay 77 Danish kroner per month for membership of the Danish Union of Journalists.