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EU Commissioner starts European Network of Agricultural Journalists

BRUSSELS 6th December 2011

The European network of Agricultural Journalists (ENAJ), a new organisation representing agricultural journalists from the EU was officially launched today in Brussels.  The Commissioner for Agriculture Dacian Ciolos was presented with the working charter for the ENAJ at a function attended by 140 journalists from the EU 27. The new journalist run organisation will be initially led by Belgian journalist Jef Verhaeran who explained at the launch how the idea came about following consultation between journalists and the EU Commission earlier this year.  Leaders of agricultural journalist associations from member states came together to explore the possibility of establishing a new organisation and the idea received the backing of these member guilds and associations.  A “project team” of eight journalists will now go about establishing and growing the network over the next twelve months.

The main objectives of the network is to help agricultural journalists throughout the EU communicate easily with each other while also providing members with better access to issues of importance including the CAP debate from DG Agri.

To this end an interactive website exclusive to ENAJ signatories and members has been established. This platform will provide ENAJ members with the opportunity to exchange stories, access press releases and press conferences organised by DG Agri, give access to contact details of other journalists and key people associated with agriculture in other countries and promote the free press ethos of journalism.

The ENAJ will also work to establish agriculture guilds and associations in member states who do not have an agricultural journalism orgnaisational structure. It will also aim to provide professional development opportunities for young journalists. And the ENAJ will also run two major networking events annually at which journalists can meet and debate the latest issues of importance with key figures from European agriculture including the Commission and member state ministers.

The ENAJ is initially supported by DG Agri although the independence of the ENAJ is central to the ENAJ charter.

Commenting on the establishment of this new pan European organisation, Agriculture Commissioner Dacian Ciolos said: “I welcome the establishment of the European Network of Agricultural Journalists. This will be an important platform for exchanges among journalists. It will also aid the 2-way communication between the EU institutions and journalists to ensure that, on the one hand, information needed by the media is readily available so that they are aware of the latest developments, and on the other hand, that we listen and take into account their comments, contributions and questions. ”

ENAJ “Project team” chairman Jef Verhaeran said: “This EU network of agricultural journalists ENAJ meets important needs. The agricultural policy in the EU is made on an EU level and that as well as the information and communication with agricultural journalists need a folow up. ENAJ wil take care that agricultural journalists can fullfill their information mission on the EU level and defend their professional and deontological interests. ENAJ will have to give special attention to the organisation of agricultural journalists in member countries where they are not organised yet and to education of journalists where necessary. In order to realise the ENAJ objectives ENAJ will cooperate with the EU Commission, which supports ENAJ allready very strongly, and other EU institutions but as well with other organisations, like the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) for the realisation of their objectives. Personally I thank European Commissioner Dacian Ciolos and his press service for their support and the other members of the project team for their enthousiasm in the service of journalisme and the rihgt on information.”

The other members of the project team are: Damien O’Reilly (Ire), Katharina Seuser (Ger), Hans Siemes (Neth), Eric Massin (Fr), Jesus Lopez Colmenarejo (Sp), Tatianna Cop (Slo) and Adrian Bell (UK).

The ENAJ is also supported by member state guilds and associations of agricultural journalists.

Damien O Reilly, Acting Secretary, ENAJ.

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