December 14, 2023


 Statement of the Suspended Members to be Presented at the Annual General Meeting of AIPCE in Antwerp on December 14, 2023


More than a year has passed since ten press councils left AIPCE – nine suspended membership in  October 2022, after the Ukrainian Commission on Journalism Ethics had withdrawn from the alliance in April 2022, in protest of the continued presence of the Public Collegium of Press Complaints of Russia in AIPCE. After a continued search for a solution, the council of Belgium’s French- and German-speaking media CDJ suspended its membership in AIPCE in March 2023.

A months-long mediation process that finally led to the expulsion of the Russian council  and the readiness of Ukrainian colleagues to restore their membership has made it possible for the ten councils to rejoin  AIPCE.

For the sake of a solid future for AIPCE, we need to learn the lessons from the split.

A year ago, the ten councils felt solidarity and strongly agreed with the Ukrainian council that it was travesty to have the Russian council as member of AIPCE, since there is no possibility for the operation of independent media self-regulation in Russia, as the whole media sector is used in Putin’s war propaganda machinery and the Russian council has admitted they would not address any complaints about the coverage of the Russian aggression against Ukraine.

The inability of AIPCE to handle the issue of unsuitability of the Russian membership forced the ten councils – of Armenia, Belgium (CDJ), Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Ireland, Moldova, Norway and Sweden – to suspend their membership in AIPCE.

The ten councils were dissatisfied with the way the issue was managed by the AIPCE coordination committee, as this did not allow for a democratic and transparent way out of the conflict that was based on values.

It was with a heavy heart that the ten councils opted to suspend membership in an alliance that is an invaluable meeting place for the press councils of Europe. But we were forced to do so, as we felt that the important values of democracy and free journalism were being compromised beyond limit.

We are grateful for the effective and fruitful work that Adrien Collin of the European Federation of Journalists did as mediator between AIPCE and the suspended members in order to overcome the split. This helped us move forward from the stalemate and make steps towards the reunification of AIPCE. In August 2023, AIPCE voted to exclude the Russian council as a member of AIPCE. The former coordination committee of AIPCE transferred its mandate to an interim coordination committee, which has taken us to the 2023 annual general meeting in Antwerp where we will elect a new coordination committee.

For this process, we are also thankful for the mediating team of AIPCE – Roman Portack of the German council, Daphne Koene of the Dutch council and Balazs Weyer of the Hungarian council – for their constructive and fair-minded approach, which enabled us to reach the reunification.

As an alliance, AIPCE should staunchly stand for ethical journalism and democratic values. In order to be more transparent and flexible, we hope the amendments to the AIPCE bylaws would help us achieve this.

We are glad to declare we can rejoin the alliance today. We promise to further its goals of upholding the ethics of journalism and  promote the freedom of expression. We are delighted that we can welcome Ukraine back to the alliance.

The press councils of Armenia, Belgium (CDJ for French and German-speaking Belgium), Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Ireland, Moldova, Norway and Sweden