Proposal for new IPA/API-Statutes – 2016
API was created on the 27th June 1975 in Brussels Constituent General Assembly.
In a meeting of the General Assembly on Friday, February 26, 2016, the members of the Association of the International Press Association (API) unanimously decided to change the statutes and to amend them as follows:
I: Legal seat and purpose of the association
Article 1: Name and legal seat
The International Press Association (IPA/API) has the legal status of an ASBL under Belgian law. Its legal seat is Brussels and it is active in Belgium.
The following persons were its founders:
MM et MMES Gideon Abramowitz, Guido Boodts, Mogens Bryde, Alfred Cheval, Vladislav Chichlo, Reginald Dale, Henri Deheyn, Quentin Dickinson, Peter Dreyer, Guido Eeckels, Carl Ehrhardt, Fred Gilissen, Gonzales-Getino, Gavin Gordon, Kurt Grünebaum, Carl Hartman, Erich Hauser, Eric-John Kennedy, HorstWillem Kollmann, Michael G. Landers, Peter Lawson, Christian Lutz, Angel Marcos-Garcia, Elie Marcuse, Martin-Laborda, Pio Mastrobuoni, Clara Meijers, Richard Norton-Taylor, Hans Peter Ott, Bodo Radke, Robin Reeves, louri Ryjov, Serif Sayin, Henry Schavoir, Klaus Schumann, Pablo Sebastian, Cornelis Sikkink, Gisela Sonnenfeld, Hartmut Stein, Dieter Strupp, Malcolm Subhan, Vit Suchy, Robert Taylor, Ramon Vilaro Giralt, Martinus Van Dijk, Hilda van Praag, Frits Visser, Georges Williamson, Cecilia Zadig, Alexandre Zvantsov.
Article 2: Purpose
IPA/API defines, defends and develops the rights and interests of its members in the following ways:
- promotes and defends the freedom of the media and the rights and independence of professional journalists;
- negotiates and concludes agreements with the international institutions in Brussels in the name of the accredited journalists to protect their professional interests and improve their working conditions;
- scrutinises the application of Belgian law in relation to professional journalists and the recognition of non-Belgian journalists by the Belgian authorities;
- negotiates with the Belgian authorities and the international organisations in Brussels on a European statute for professional journalists;
- oversees the application of the rules of professional journalism, provides support for accredited journalists and ensures the implementation and observance of professional ethics;
- manages the offices of IPA/API and other press associations established by the General Assembly on the recommendation of the IPA/API Council;
- provides services to serve and promote the interests of professional journalists in Brussels.
Article 3: Members
API/IPA consists of two classes of membership:
- ordinary members and
- honorary members.
- be accredited by at least one international institution in Brussels
- have a permanent residence in Belgium and
- have a sufficient revenue from one or several independent media (written, radio, TV, on-line or agencies)
Honorary members are elected by the General Assembly on a proposal from the Council.
Members are admitted provided they meet the above mentioned criteria.
Applicants who are refused can appeal within two weeks after the decision has been notified to them in writing. The applicant’s appeal will be heard by the Council. Decisions on the admission of new members will be published on the IPA/API-website.
On a request from the Council, the Secretary General may ask any member to submit evidence that he or she fulfils the above mentioned criteria. When this evidence is not provided within three months, API/IPA may withdraw membership.
Article 4: Resources
- IPA/API is financed by the annual contribution fees of its members.
- The General Assembly decides the amount of the annual contribution on a proposal from the Council.
- The annual contribution must be paid within three months following the publication of the admission of the new member on the IPA/API-website.
- The contribution will be calculated as being equal to three quarters of the annual fee if the member is admitted to IPA between April 1st and June 30th; half of the annual fee if the member is admitted between July and September; and a quarter for admissions after October 1st.
- The annual contribution must be paid before March 31st.
- The right to vote in a General Assembly is suspended if the admission fee or the annual contribution is not paid on time. If a member is 12 months in arrears, their membership is automatically cancelled.
II: The Bodies of IPA/API
Article 5: The General Assembly
- The General Assembly is open to all members. Ordinary members are entitled to vote if they are members for more than 4 months and provided they have paid their fee as defined in Article 4. Only those who are members for more than one year may be elected to a position on the IPA/API-Bureau or sit on the IPA/API-Council.
- The GA decides upon IPA/API policies. It is convened by the Secretary General in agreement with the President or by the President after consultation with the IPA/API-Bureau and with at least eight days notice. The GA is held at least once a year, preferably in the first semester. An extraordinary General Assembly may be convened at the request of the Council and of at least half of the ordinary members. The notice of the GA and of an extraordinary GA must include an agenda.
- The GA takes decisions on the items on the agenda. Decisions are taken by simple majority. Decisions on the IPA/API-Statutes require an absolute majority of those voting. Decisions on the Statutes and the election to the Bureau and the Council can only be taken provided they were were included on the agenda with the invitation to the GA.
- Proxy votes: a fully paid-up member who for professional reasons or reasons of illness cannot attend the GA may give their vote, in writing, to a fellow API member to cast on their behalf. The person giving their proxy vote must inform in writing the Secretary General at least 24 hours before the meeting that they are taking this step and convey to whom they have given their proxy to cast on their behalf. A member attending the GA may have only one proxy, together with his or her own vote, to cast in whatever way he or she sees fit.
Article 6: The IPA/API-Council
- The Council is composed of the representatives of national, geographic and professional sector groups, the members of the Bureau and a maximum of three free members elected by the GA.
- The national, geographic and professional groups recognised by IPA/API may choose a representative who must have the support of a majority of those in the group. To be recognised, a group must have at least 7 members among the journalists accredited to the international institutions in Brussels and who are all members of API/IPA. A number of countries may join together to form a group, provided they do not already have a representative on the Council.
- National and professional groups recognized by the IPA/API designate their representatives on the board. They choose a representative who must have the support of a majority of the members of the group.
- For a group to be recognised, their application must be made in writing to the Secretary General of API/IPA. If they meet the criteria, their application must be considered by the Bureau who may make a recommendation to the Council. The Council will vote on the application and take the decision to admit or reject by a majority vote of the entire Council membership. The decision will be published on the IPA/API-website.
- The Council is convened by the President or the Secretary General at least 6 times a year.
Article 7: Operation
- The Council implements the policies agreed by the GA. It takes decisions by a simple majority. In the case of a split vote the President has a casting vote. The Council meets when it is convened by a written invitation with the agenda to each member. Every member of the Council has a right to take part in all Council meetings and are entitled to vote.
- In an emergency, the President, the Vice-Presidents, the Secretary General and the Treasurer in as far as they are present in Brussels may take urgent decisions in the interest of the association and its members, after consulting the other members of the Council in writing. Such decisions are communicated to the Council at the next meeting. Any member of the Council may request a debate on the issue by the full Council. The decision may be put to a new vote if one third of the Council members make the request. In this event, the invitation to the Council meeting has to identify the issue and two thirds of the Council members must take part in the vote.
- The Council can:
(a) choose from among its members for a period up to the next GA a President or Vice-President when an elected President or Vice-President steps down or cannot fulfil its duties;
(b) propose candidates for these functions at the next GA;
(c) give an opinion on candidates to the Bureau and the Council.
- The Council deals with complaints about the behaviour of IPA/API members and determines whether a member has failed in her or his professional obligations.
- The Bureau prepares the meetings of the Council, takes care of any urgent business and follows up issues between the Council meetings.
Article 8: The IPA/API Bureau
- The IPA/API Bureau is composed of the President, two Vice-Presidents, the Secretary General, the Treasurer and former IPA/API Presidents who continue to be ordinary members of IPA/API.
- The President and the Vice-Presidents are elected by a majority of those attending the GA by secret ballot for a term of two years. They may be re-elected once. The list of candidates must be published on the IPA/API-website at least 10 days before the vote takes place in the GA. To be eligible to become President or a vice-president, the candidate must be a fully-paid up member of API/IPA for at least 12 months in advance of the general assembly.
- The Secretary General is elected by the Council on a proposal from the President. The Treasurer is elected by the Bureau on the proposal of the President.
- The Bureau is convened by the President or the Secretary General. It may take decisions based on a majority of those attending. In the case of a split vote the President has a casting ballot.
- Members of the Council mandated to carry out special tasks may be invited to meetings of the Bureau as the Secretary General or President sees fit.
III: Statutes & Dissolution
Article 9: Modification of the Statutes
- The statutes may be modified only on a proposal from the Council.
- An extraordinary GA to modify the statutes requires a majority of the members present to agree.
- The new statutes come into force at the time of the GA following the extraordinary GA at which the decisions were taken.
Article 10: Dissolution
IPA/API may only be dissolved by a General Assembly convened for this purpose with advance notice given to all members at least 5 weeks in advance. A decision requires a majority of three quarters of the members who take part in the vote.
Article 11: Exceptional Circumstances
Anything that is not anticipated in these Statutes shall be decided by the General Assembly by a majority of two-thirds of the members who take part in the vote.