The International Press Association (IPA) on Wednesday reiterated a call for Belgium to scrap a 50-euro fee imposed on journalists covering European summits. Under a law that entered into effect on 1 June 2018, Belgium imposes the fee on journalists and technicians taking part in European Union (EU) summits in Brussels. It is charged to the employer of anyone undergoing a security screening by Belgian authorities.
The IPA, General Association of Professional Journalists of Belgium (AGJBP) and European Commission strongly criticized the measure on 1 August, and the Belgian Government promised that “the concerns expressed by the press” would be examined by the National Security Authority (ANS), made up of representatives of various federal public services.
The API said on Wednesday that, two months later and just a few weeks before the next European summit, it was still waiting for a clear response from the Belgian authorities.
It asked the ANS to review the implementation of the law and to take into account its consequences for the working conditions of journalists, especially stringers.
Only a generalized and legally solid exemption could alleviate the unease of the Brussels-based media, the association added. It stressed that if the Belgian authorities failed to give a clear response, the IPA was more determined than ever to consider the possibility of filing a complaint against Belgium with the European Commission for discrimination and infringement on press freedom.