World Press Freedom Day 2011
This year the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) marks World Press Freedom Day by focusing on the legacy of the September 11th terrorist attacks in New York and Washington ten years ago. The IFJ calls for a reversal of the tide of legal and official intimidation of journalism and attacks on civil liberties that has followed the events of 2001.
Around the world, the IFJ affiliates are planned events to highlight other pressing issues in their communities, countries and regions during the annual celebration of press freedom. Please find below information about events which took place across the globe organised by journalists and their unions. More details on these and other activities will be made available as soon as possible.
· Gambia- Representatives of the African Federation of Journalists (FAJ) and of the East African Journalists Association (EAJA) attended the session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights in Banjul to lobby for the adoption of a Declaration on the safety of journalists.
· Eritrea - The Federation of African Journalists (FAJ) and its affiliates sent letters to President Issayas Afewerki of Eritrea, urging him to release journalists who are detained by his regime. According to estimates, some 30 journalists were arrested after the 2001 crackdown in Asmara but the exact number is unknown as the Eritrean authorities are refusing to release any information on these journalists, their state of health and their legal status. There are reports that at least four journalists are believed to have died in the atrocious conditions of the prisons of Eritrea. Eritrean law stipulates that an individual cannot be detained without charges for more than 30 days, but none of these journalists was formally charged or brought to court.
· Senegal - le Syndicat des professionnels de l'information et de la communication (SYNPICS), an IFJ affiliate, organised a debate on professional reporting on political affairs in Senegalese media. The IFJ Africa Director, Gabriel Baglo, moderated the debate which took place at ‘Centre d'Etudes des Sciences et Techniques de l'Information (CESTI) from 3 p.m.
- Sydney, Australia - IFJ affiliate and IFEX member the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance and its professional development arm, the Walkley Foundation, hosted the 2011 Australian Press Freedom Dinner. This event brought together guests representing the media and opinion leaders from around Australia to raise funds for the Alliance Media Safety and Solidarity Fund. The dinner also launched the Alliance's annual Australian Press Freedom Report, which can be accessed at www.alliance.org.au
- Delhi, India - IFJ Asia-Pacific and the South Asia Media Solidarity Network (SAMSN) officially released the ninth annual South Asia Press Freedom Report, Free Speech in Peril, at an event hosted by UNESCO. The report is a compilation of contributions from IFJ affiliates and SAMSN members, reviews developments in the struggle for press freedom in the region, and includes comprehensive listings of violations of journalists' rights in 2010-11. See: http://asiapacific.ifj.org/en/pages/ifj-asia-pacific-reports
- Manila, Philippines - The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) conducted several events to mark WPFD 2011 and highlight the continuing quest for justice in regard to the 2009 Ampatuan Town massacre. The NUJP were joined by a regional delegation including senior journalists and trade union leaders from IFJ affiliates the National Union of Journalists (Malaysia) and Aliansi Jurnalis Independen (Indonesia), along with IFJ Asia-Pacific.
1. May 2: Press Jam - a cultural night with members of media singing and reciting poetry on press freedom.
2. May 3: A forum under the broad theme: Press Freedom, Democracy, Empowerment was held at Annabel's Restaurant in Quezon City.
More information: http://www.gmanews.tv/story/189966/nujp-to-mark-world-press-freedom-day-with-songs-protest
- Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - Members of NUJ house unions at the country's leading print media such as New Straits Times, Sun and Star hosted high tea celebrations for World Press Freedom Day in their respective workplaces.
- Timor Leste - IFJ affiliate the Timor Lorosae Journalists' Association held a march in a street they are campaigning to have officially named Rua de Liberdade de Imprensa (Press Freedom Street). The march in Dili visited the grave of Sunder Stone, an international journalist who was killed by pro-autonomy militias in 1999.
- Apia, Samoa - A Pacific regional media dialogue was joined by representatives from Fiji, Samoa, Vanuatu, the Cook Islands, Hawaii, Papua New Guinea and Australia to discuss strategies and network-building to tackle common challenges faced by media workers across the Pacific Islands. Regional networks to be represented include Pacific Freedom Forum, PasiMA, WAVE, PIMA and the PADJ.
- Colombo, Sri Lanka - The Free Media Movement (FFM), an IFJ affiliate, conducted a discussion on Word Press Freedom Day and launched a new book by Seetha Ranjanee, Martyrs of Freedom of Expression in Sri Lanka. The Sri Lanka Press Institute meanwhile held a seminar and photo exhibition.
· London UK - National Union of Journalists (NUJ) and the London Photographers' Branch (LPB) are supporting ‘I'm a Photographer, Not a Terrorist! (PHNAT)', a campaign group set up to fight unnecessary and draconian restrictions against individuals taking photographs in public spaces which organised a flashmob outside London's City Hall. The PHNAT is concerned about the role of private security guards in the prevention of terrorism which has been promoted by police, with the result that many privately employed guards are illegally preventing citizens from taking any photographs at all.
Areas designated as public realm are often privately managed spaces that are subject to rules laid down by the private management companies. Most insidious of these is the outright banning of photography in some of the most popular public spaces, such as Canary Wharf and the Thames Walk between Tower Bridge and City Hall.
Around 50 photojournalists gathered on World Press Freedom Day to highlight the arbitrary restrictions on photography by security guards across the city. Photographers also handed in a letter to Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London.
An illustrated PHNAT pamphlet was also launched at the event. The pamphlet, created by PHNAT and LPB members, supported by the NUJ, British Press Photographers Association (BPPA) and the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom, aims to celebrate the history of the PHNAT campaign.
· Italy - The Federazione Nazionale della Stampa Italiana (FNSI) organised a public debate on the IFJ global theme - Journalism under the shadow of terror. The FNSI also held a debate "North Africa - information stronger than regimes. People, work, democracy and rights" to consider the impact of winds of change sweeping across the North Africa and the Arab world. A number of experts (journalists, academics, researchers, political scientists) from the region took part in the debate as did some Italian correspondents who covered the uprising in Egypt and Libya including Duilio Giammaria from RAI and Vincenzo Nigro of La Repubblica.
A detailed academic analysis was presented by Augusto Valeriani, professor at the University of Bologna, researcher and lecturer of media relations with democracy, and ethics and values of information in the interested areas, focusing on the radical process of change. FNSI General Secretary and IFJ Executive Committee member Franco Siddi opened the debate together with President Roberto Natale who is also on the EFJ Steering Committee.
· Netherlands - The Nederlandse Vereniging van Journalisten (NVJ) held a Press Freedom Lecture entitled Openess v. Security in Amsterdam. The lecture addressed the developments in ensuring transparency including the role of Wikileaks. There was also be a presentation of the pres feeedom barometers ( Iceland Modern Media Initiative).
The event took place at TrouwAmsterdam (Wibautstraat 127, Amsterdam) from 3 p.m - 5.15 p.m
There was a press freedom evening planned in the evening as well.
· Belgium - The Association des Journalistes Professionels de Belgique (AJP) focused its actiivities on new forms of journalism involving users but also on new concerns such as threats over privacy and electronic data retention:
Romania - The EFJ affiliate MediaSind issued a statement and demanded the Government to treat "journalism as a public good" and to stop state interference in media affairs. The union called for more ethical journalism in Romania and concrete measures in media policy to counter the economic and social crisis.
Cyprus - The northern-Cyprus union Basin-Sen issued statement deploring the threats faced by journalists in Cyprus and calling for unity among journalists to counter the threat.
· Chile- The IFJ regional organisation in Latin America, La Federación de Periodistas de América Latina y el Caribe (FEPALC) held a meeting of Presidents and General Secretaries of Latin American Unions to discuss the future of journalism, the role and plans of unions in the region. FEPALC President Celso Schroder and Domingo Vargas, President of the National Federation of Media Workers of Chile, FENATRAMCO, also visited , along with other members of regional leadership, the hospital of the Workers, in Santiago and meet fellow unionists and their families.
· Chile - FEPALC leaders met with the presidents of the political parties which form the coalition government in Chile to address media concentration in the country, the need for legislation on democratisation of communications, dismissals, dire working conditions suffered by all sectors as well as the threat to shut down the newspaper La Nación. They then held another meeting with the leadership of the National Association of Public Employees to discuss the situation of trade unions in Chile.
· IFJ and FEPALC organised an International Conference "Media and Democracy", in which union leaders of organisations affiliated to the IFJ and investigators participated in panels to address media concentration in Latin America and the Caribbean. As a special case, the Rupert Murdoch media ownership in the US and Europe (mainly UK), was the focus of the discussion.
The IFJ and FEPALC also launched the findings of an investigation on the media landscape in the region with a map of media concentration. It was open to the public and was held at the headquarters of the National Association of Public Employees, ANEF, at 15.00 hours.
The activities were attended by the IFJ General Secretary, Elisabeth Costa, and the General Secretary of the National Union of Journalists of the UK and Ireland ( NUJ), Jeremy Dear.
Middle East and Arab World
On the occasion of World Press Freedom day 2011, a number of Arab unions organised activities centered around the regional campaign ' Solidarity with Journalists on the Frontline of the Arab Spring'