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Posts Tagged ‘Michael D Higgins’

Global Journalists Congress begins in Ireland

Posted by African Press International on June 7, 2013

  • By Maurice Alal, API Kenya

More than 200 journalists and leaders of journalists unions and associations have converged in Dublin, Ireland for the 28th World Congress of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) which is expected to focus attention on media freedom, the safety of journalists and job security amid growing austerity measures in many countries.

The 5 day event, which runs to June 7, kicked off yesterday with a meeting of the Gender Council, which discussed strategies for improving gender parity in journalists unions and associations at the national, regional and global levels.

The Congress, which will today focus attention on job security for journalists under the themes “Decent Jobs, not Austerity’’, will  officially be opened by the President of the Republic of Ireland,  Michael D. Higgins.

Kenya Correspondents Association (KCA), an affiliate of IFJ, is represented at the Congress by its National Chairman William Oloo Janak who is expected to speak about media freedom, safety and security of journalists and the uncertainty of jobs facing Kenyans journalists.

“This is an important platform to discuss challenges facing journalists and we will highlight the case of Kenya given the problems journalists face, including increasing safety and security concerns and violation of journalists labour rights by employers,” said Janak in a statement from Dublin.

The Congress is expected to discuss the killings of journalists in Somalia and other hot spots, the continued threats, intimidation, arrests and detentions of journalists in a number of countries including in Eritrea, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Turkey, Iraq, Afghanistan, among others.

On Wednesday June 5, the Executive Council of the Irish National Union of Journalists (NUJ) will lead the delegates in a “Freedom Walk” to remember the those journalists killed since the last World Congress in Cadiz, Spain in June 2010.

The Congress, which has representatives from over 110 countries, has a strong African delegation drawn from more than 40 journalists unions and associations under the continental grouping of the Federation of African Journalists (FAJ) which seeks to play an important role within the global journalists’ body.

During the Congress, the delegates will elect a new leadership to steer the IFJ for the next two years till the next congress in 2015.

 

 

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President of Ireland Speaks of Need to Protect Media Diversity at IFJ World Congress Launch

Posted by African Press International on June 6, 2013

  • By  Dickens Wasonga.

The President of Ireland, Mr Michael D Higgins, has stressed the need to protect media diversity and pluralism at the opening ceremony of the International Federation of Journalists’ World Congress in Dublin last evening.

Opening the World Congress, President Higgins warned of the dangers of “identifiable news organizations chasing the same narrow commercial ground” and emphasized the importance of a free press to democratic society.

“Pluralism, real diversity and choice are critical and should never be reduced to a false choice between partisan media arrayed on ideological grounds, and identified news organizations chasing the same narrow commercial ground,” President Higgins told over 300 delegates gathered at the opening ceremony in Dublin’s historic Royal Hospital Kilmainham.

The President said that real pluralism “occurs at a granular level, within countries as much as within regions, reflecting religious and ethnic diversity, and the views and needs of rich and poor alike. Governments and civil society need to keep this issue at the forefront of media policy – democracy, freedom, even economic growth depend on it.”

The President of Ireland was welcomed at the opening by IFJ President, Jim Boumelha, who endorsed his call for free and democratic media across the world. The theme of the IFJ Congress, which is hosted by the National Union of Journalists of Great Britain and Ireland is Leading the Global Fightback.

President Higgins said the recent reiteration of the principles of World Press Freedom Day on 3 May by the member countries of UNESCO was an important act of solidarity.

President Higgins stated that if the commitment was to be of real value there must also be a commitment “to turn human rights aspirations in this area from aspirations into guarantees”.

He outlined the challenges facing journalists including  the concentration of ownership, the convergence of technologies, the fragmentation of audiences, the com-modification of experience, are all elements of the changed circumstances in which journalism is, and will, be practiced.

“Journalists attempting to investigate and provide information on political and corporate corruption can often be hindered and intimidated by those with vested interests, including by use of violent means; which, if acceded to, would lead to a dangerous misrepresentation or even falsification of information which would not be in the interests of individual citizens and would obviously be detrimental to society at large,” said President Higgins.

“The principle of diversity and pluralism which lies at the heart of the media must be protected if we are to promote a free flow of ideas and information and strengthen the exercise of freedom of expression around the world.”

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