Thursday, April 29, 1999On 3 May, World Press Freedom Day, the Fédération professionnelle des journalistes du Québec launched le Comité québécois pour la liberté de la presse (the Québec Committee for Press Freedom.) Since its creation in 1969, the FPJQ has worked to defend press freedom in Québec and at times internationally. With the creation of this new committee, it hopes to contribute more actively to the defense of press freedom around the world. To this end, the FPJQ will collaborate with other groups such as Canadian Journalists for Free Expression and Reporters Sans Frontières. The guest of honour was Vietnamese journalist, Doan Viet Hoat. Prof. Hoat spent 20 years in prison in Vietnam. After being released last September, he was forced into exile, and is currently a scholar-in-residence at the Catholic University in Washington D.C. Among other honours, Prof. Doat has received the 1998 Golden Pen of Freedom from the World Association of Newspapers, the 1995 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award, the 1994 Hellman and Hammett Free Expression Award (Human Rights Watch, NY) and the 1993 Press Freedom Award (Committee to Protect Journalists, NY). Michaël Elbaz from Canadian Journalists for Free Expression also attended the news conference to talk about CJFE and the International Freedom of Expression eXchange (IFEX). The Fédération professionnelle des journalistes du Québec (FPJQ) was created in 1969 to defend freedom of the press, journalists' professional interests and the public's right to information. It is the most important and influential journalistic organization in Quebec. The FPJQ currently has 1,500 members from 150 print and electronic media organizations. Its president, Michel C. Auger, is a prominent political columnist. For more information, please contact Jane McElhone, Comité québécois pour la liberté de la presse, FPJQ, 1012, ave du Mont-Royal Est, Bureau 105, Montréal, (Québec) Canada H2J 1X6, tel: 514 522-6142, fax: (514) 522-6071, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Bosnian Journalist and Free Expression Experts Speak in Ottawa In 1993 the United Nations proclaimed the Third of May World Press Freedom Day. The day serves as an occasion to inform the public of violations of the right to freedom of expression and as a reminder that many journalists brave death or jail to bring people their daily news. The National Press Club of Canada held a luncheon to mark World Press Freedom Day. The luncheon Moderator, Barrie Zwicker led the way through inter alia presentations between luncheon courses, a short video by Secretary General of the United Nations, a report by Bob Carty on the International Freedom of Expression eXchange (IFEX), its work, and the figures on persecution of journalists, censorship and banned media outlets. Peter White who is the Regional vice-chairman for Canada of the Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information of the Inter American Press Association IAPA and a member of IAPA's Board spoke about some of the press problems in Latin America and elsewhere. White obtained the agreement of Prime Minister Chrétien to sign the "Declaration of Chapultepec." He is also currently Executive vice-president of the Argus Corporation Gordana Knezevic, an award-winning former Sarajevo newspaper editor who kept publishing during the war in Bosnia, discussed the possibility of having a free press in the middle of a war, using examples from Pristina, Belgrade and Sarajevo. She is a member of the Board of Directors of Canadian Journalists for Free Expression. For more information on World Press Freedom Day, visit the IFEX Internet Service at www.ifex.org, where you will find a special 3 May issue of the "Communique", and an update on 11 May.
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