The Union of Professional Journalists in Romania (UPJ) is the largest and the most important professional association of Romanian journalists, including the journalists working in Romanian communities across the borders. The Union continues the activities of the organization bearing the same name set up in 1919.
UPJ has been found in observance of the provisions of the Romanian Constitution and of the Governmental Ordinance on associations and foundations and has public utility status. Freedom of speech, respect for the truth and providing correct information to the public are features guaranteed by the UPJ to its members, according to the Union’s Code of Conduct. At present, the UPJ numbers 4000 members, who have joined its branches, which represent territorial structures and professional departments organized in Romania and Diaspora.
In the patriotic state of mind proper to Romania after the ending of the First World War, and especially after the historic moment of the Great Union decided at Alba Iulia, on 1 December 1918, fifty very young journalists from Bucharest initiated the founding of the Union of Professional Journalists – an organization meant to gather the journalists from all the historic regions of the country, in order to build solidarity among them and, at the same time, to teach them their trade in the democratic spirit. The kernel of this wish was to professionalize journalism, so as to answer to the occidental standards.
The general assembly setting up the Union took place on 11 January 1919, in a building in Sărindar Street, where Berlin Ale House was later located. The Union status was adopted, and then its management elected. The enthusiasm prevailing at this first reunion is explainable if we take into consideration the average age of the participants – 30 years old. Among the participants there were Victor Iamandi, Eugen Filotti and George Macovescu – future ministers, Nicolae Batzaria, Ion Minulescu, Ion Pas, Cezar Petrescu – poets and novelists, promising rising talents in literature at that time, Constantin Papacostea, Samson Abramovici, Brunea Fox, Dinu Dumbravă, Ion Felea, Mircea Grigorescu, I.G. Peltz, Nicolae Pora, Jean Vulpescu and Pamfil Şeicaru – who will become, in the coming years, well -known figures of the Romanian journalism.
Many years later, on 4 May 1990, at Poiana Braşov, a meeting of the written and audiovisual press representatives took place, at the initiative of the newly founded Society of Romanian Journalists, in order to elect its board. The interim president was, at that time, Petre Mihai Băcanu, and Sorin Roşca Stănescu was the deputy. Because of some disagreements, the majority of the journalists, starting with George Brătescu, Florea Stama, Adi Cristi, Mircea Ichim, Mihai Miron, Ilie Călian, Doina Jalea, Adriana Frăteanu, Neacşu Neacşu, Dan Lutic, Lucian Jiman and many others, decided to re-found the Union of Professional Journalists, starting from its old status and maintaining the old name; before 1989, at the order of the Press Department of the Central Committee of the Romanian Communist Party, the Union was engulfed by the huge syndicate of the printing press, editors and journalists, thus losing its features and ideals.
During the next month, UPJ was registered and continued the tradition of professional journalism.
From 1990 to 2012, the first presidents of UPJ were Ştefan Mitroi, Romeo Nădăşan, Horia Alexandrescu and Mihai Miron. In 2012, a new president was elected, namely Doru Dinu Glăvan.
In its first years of existence, UPJ’s main effort was to restore its branches and clubs around the country, and to certify its members. From 1995 onwards, the joining of the Union is done on the basis of a dossier analyzed by the Certifying Commission. The status of the Union specifies that university studies are compulsory and its permanent members must have a degree. Trainees must have their high school studies finished and must be enrolled for the courses of a University. Also, the Union demands that the applicants present a criminal record certificate, since it does not accept members with a criminal record.
In years to come, UPJ has promoted its events, organized numerous specific symposiums and has taken part in national and international reunions; it has organized and led postgraduate training courses or summer internships for students and trainees. The Union’s equidistance, as an organization, towards political parties, enabled it to survive, to increase the number of members and to compete with other 40 mass-media associative systems in the Convention of Mass-Media Organizations.
The main purpose of UPJ is to promote writing and journalist creation as a distinct domain of spiritual life, to establish journalism as a creative profession of public importance and social recognition, to defend the rights, freedom and professional dignity of journalists, and the freedom of the written, audiovisual and electronic press, in accordance with the national and international norms. Through its activity, the Union of Professional Journalists in Romania aims at revitalizing and stimulating the activity of UPJ, by developing journalism as a creative activity with a specific impact on the internal and international public life, and increasing the representativeness of the press community from Romania and Diaspora in its relations with the public institutions and state authorities. The Union also aims at consolidating the professional credibility and moral authority of the journalists in society, with respect to ethical journalistic values and promotion of social responsibility of this profession.