Press freedom under threat: International conference in Wroclaw, Poland

PressFreedomEventPoland

 

On 1 July 2016, a coalition of journalists and press organisations are hosting the “(R)EVOLUTION OF EUROPE’S PRESS” conference in the European Capital of Culture 2016: Wroclaw, Poland. This event will bring together a high level group of approximately 90 politicians, media experts, journalists, start-ups and technology experts who will examine the state of press freedom in Europe through the political, market and technological lens.

President of the European Federation of Journalists, Mogens BLICHER BJERREGARD will speak at the final panel on challenges facing journalist in all media including social media. Blicher Bjerregard says, “Press freedom is a fundamental right in Europe and the attempt of governments to influence media is an inevitable threat to democracy. Journalists play a crucial role in this democratic process and it’s vital that neither national nor European law hinder their professional right to practice their profession.”

“In uncertain times, with racism and hate speech on the rise and politicians losing their authority, we need free media more than ever,” says Jane Wyhatt, Programme Manager of the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom and moderator of the first interactive session of the conference. “We need to create the conditions for independent, investigative journalists to hold power to account. And media houses must be free to challenge, criticise and even make fun of those in power without political pressure, financial cuts or self-censorship. In Wroclaw we will talk about how to make these high ideals a practical reality.”

Changing political priorities, technological innovations and market fluctuations all impact the state of press freedom in Europe. This conference aims to refocus the debate so that a holistic view of real and potential press freedom threats can be identified and discussed.

“This conference represents the first time a strong alliance of national, European and international press publishers’ associations as well as journalists associations join forces to set up a high-level forum to discuss press freedom threats,” says Max von Abendroth, Executive Director of the European Magazine Media Association (EMMA), one of the organisations coordinating the event. “This cooperation and exchange of best practices between diverse stakeholders from media, tech, journalistic and political backgrounds allows for a holistic discussion that hopefully leads to increasing support for a free, independent and vibrant press across Europe.”

The host of the conference, Wroclaw’s Mayor, Rafal Dutkiewicz recognizes the essential roles freedom of speech and free media play in a democracy: “Every citizen should have the right to independent and credible information,” says Mr. Dutkiewicz. “I hope that in Wroclaw participants of this event find the perfect opportunity for a debate on possible threats to the publishers of free media.”

The results of this highly interactive conference will be fed into a Future Media Lounge debate in the European Parliament in September 2016, as well as in a publication to stimulate this debate in a wider network across Europe.

For more information about the event, please visit www.revolutionpress.eu.

*This coalition is made up of: the Committee to Protect Journalists, the Czech Publishers Association, the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom, the European Journalism Center, the European Federation of Journalists, the European Magazine Media Association, the European Newspaper Publishers’ Association, FIPP – the network for global media, the Future Media Lab., Fondation EurActiv, Gentner Verlag, Heise Medien, the Hungarian Publishers Association, the International Press Institute, Journalismfund.eu, Mediengruppe Klambt, the Polish Publishers Association, PRESSCOM, Reporters Without Borders, Ringier Axel Springer, the Slovak Publishers” Association, the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers, and Wroclaw 2016: European Capital of Culture.

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