Antecedentes históricos de la clausula de conciencia: el modelo francés
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Servicio de Publicaciones de la Universidad de Navarra
Urabayen, Miguel. ""Antecedentes históricos de la clausula de conciencia: el modelo francés"". Persona y Derecho, 4 (1977) : 247-336.
The French Union of Journalists which had been constituted in 1918 drew up, in the early part of 1933, a Professional Statute in which there were to be found those labor rights that French journalists had long been fighting for in vain against the patrons of the French press. The Statute was presented as a bill in the Chamber of Deputies and became Law on March 29th, 1935, thanks to the brilliant preparation and defense carried out by Emile Brachard. One of the articles of the French law lays down the groundrules by which journalists can break away from the contract and the newpaper to which they had formerly been bound, alleging reasons of conscience, and still receive indemnization equal to that to which they would have been entitled had they been fired unjustly. This conscience clause -which is so extraordinary from the point of view of labor legislation- already existed in other European countries. In this respect. Italy provided at the same time both the oldest and most complete antecedents. Between 1935 and the present, the conscience clause as it applies to French journalists has been exercised frequently and with very few problems. The author estimates that the total number of cases add up to around two thousand, out of which only a few dozen had to be settled in court. The sentences dictated have in fact widened the scope of the clause's application and made it to include al/ the intellectual staft employed by any publication and -in one case- the publication itself against one of its own editors. Today the conscience clause is held by French journalists to be an incomplete solution to a problem which greatly exceeds the scope contemplated by the authors of the 1935 Law. What is sought today is the true participation of the entire editorial staft in the publication's decision making process. There does not exist in Spain any conscience clause but journalists are at the present moment pushing very hard in its favor. The author of this article examines the possible ways by which it could be recognized in this country, either from the starting point of already-existing legislation or else through its inclusion in a Statute on Information, in his opinion, the latter seems to be the most suitable of the possibilities examined. Final/y, as an annex to the text, the author includes the entire brief of the famous report drawn up and defended by Deputy Brachard. Thanks to his highly reasoned and extremely documented exposition,. this brief was one of the essential elements which led to the approval of the French Statute as Law in 1935.
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