CJFE Marks World Press Freedom Day

Friday, May 3, 2002
Around the world, CJFE and other organizations will mark World Press Freedom Day by highlighting the fundamental principles of press freedom and training the spotlight on infringements on that right. Friday, May 3, is the anniversary of the Declaration of Windhoek, a statement of principles drawn up by African journalists in 1991 calling for a free, independent and pluralistic media on that continent and throughout the world. The Declaration affirms that a free press is essential to the existence of democracy and a fundamental human-rights goal. "The Declaration is a milestone in the struggle for a free press everywhere," said CJFE Executive Director Joel Ruimy. "Through the existence of such documents and the work of organizations like CJFE, work continues to defend and protect the right to receive and impart information through any medium, free from censorship." In a joint message on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day 2002, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson, and UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura said, "This year, World Press Freedom Day is devoted to the question of terrorism and media freedom. Above all, it is dedicated to those courageous journalists who put themselves at serious risk, and sometimes pay the highest penalty, by exercising their profession." UN headquarters in New York will hold an observance of World Press Freedom Day, the theme of which is "Covering the War on Global Terror." A panel of print and broadcast journalists will discuss freedom of the press in the context of terrorism, addressing such issues as national and international security vs. freedom of the press, televised coverage of terrorism trials and safety of journalists. In Canada, CJFE will team up with noted journalist Jan Wong at a lunch-time event in Toronto where the public will have an opportunity to meet the Globe and Mail columnist and author, and learn more about press freedom and the work of CJFE. In Ottawa, the National Press Club will hold a luncheon for its 4th Annual Press Freedom Awards and 2nd International Editorial Cartoon Competition. Senior journalists and politicians will attend the event, while the featured speaker will be Human Rights Watch Director Kenneth Roth, whose address will deal with the war against terror and the consequences for free expression and other human rights. To commemorate World Press Freedom Day in Montreal, the Fédération professionnelle des journalistes du Québec (FPJQ) will examine the state of the media in the Middle East, particularly in Israel. Well-known journalist Jean-Francois Lepine will be joined by Agnes Gruda, a jourmalist from the daily La Presse. Daniel Dor, a communications specialist from the University of Jerusalem, has also been invited as a special guest. The debate will be hosted by Michel Desautels, host of the international current affairs program éSans Frontièresé. For more information on events marking World Press Freedom Day 2002 around the globe, please visit www.ifex.org For more information on the CJFE event, please contact Joel Ruimy or David Cozac at 416 515 9622, cjfe@cjfe.org. For more information on National Press Club activities in Ottawa, please contact Spencer Moore at 613 233 5641, combroad1@rogers.com. For more information on the FPJQ event, please contact the FPJQ at 514 522 6142, info@fpjq.org.

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