Journalists from more than 100 countries are travelling to Russia for the world’s largest conference for media workers representatives hosted by the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) next week in Moscow.
With journalism caught in the turbulence of dramatic change in the industry, the congress will focus on the role of independent reporting and globalisation under the banner “Making News for Democracy.”
The IFJ’s triennial Congress will see journalists’ leaders from all corners of the world coming together to fight impunity in the killing of journalists, to demand an end to restrictions on press freedom and to call for decent jobs for journalists at a time when quality journalism is suffering because of falling investment and cuts in editorial budgets.
“Making news for democracy is what journalists do best, and the Congress provides an opportunity to debate the challenges facing journalists in an era of unprecedented change,” said Christopher Warren, IFJ President. “We want this Congress to show solidarity with all those journalists under pressure around the world – and we will pay special attention to the problems facing our Russian colleagues. This will be a week of solidarity for journalists everywhere.”
The IFJ Congress will focus on three key issues – impunity and the killing of journalists; building quality media and confronting intolerance; and the future of journalism with calls for the creation of decent working conditions for journalists.
The crisis of impunity and safety will take centre stage following a record number of journalist killings in 2006. The rate of killings has continued into 2007, with more than 50 dead so far this year. The IFJ will host a special screening of the movie A Mighty Heart, about the kidnapping and murder of Wall Street Journal Reporter Daniel Pearl and will have a video message from star Angelina Jolie.
The Congress will focus on global and regional issues. There will be a special report on the crisis in the Middle East and Iraq. The globalisation and corruption crisis in Latin America will also figure in a special debate, with news of a breakthrough in organising for Colombian journalists. European journalists will be considering the impact of a new ground-breaking agreement on social dialogue and there will be a special debate on the media situation and organisation of journalism in China.
“These are difficult times for journalists,” said White. “In Iraq there are daily reports of targeted killings of journalists. In all regions press freedom is under fire and journalists are the victims of intolerable exploitation, but journalists are getting organised and are fighting back. Our Congress will focus on how we can build on some positive developments, how we can rekindle the mission of journalism and how we can build a fresh solidarity that will protect journalists’ rights at national and global level.”
For more information contact the IFJ at 32 2 235 2207.
The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 100 countries worldwide.