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Twenty-five IFEX members condemn IMF press policy on community media


(AMARC/IFEX) - The following is a 23 May 2000 joint action signed by twenty-five IFEX members condemning the International Monetary Fund's press policy on community media:


FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION GROUPS CONDEMN IMF PRESS POLICY
ON COMMUNITY MEDIA

Freedom of Expression groups meeting in New York today condemned the IMF press policy on community media as counter to the freedom of opinion and expression. The statement, signed by twenty-seven Freedom of Expression organizations worldwide, was released following the Annual Meeting of IFEX, the International Freedom of Expression Exchange, in New York, 20-23 May 2000.

The IMF press policy to deny credentials to public access TV, community radio, student and academic publications was issued by IMF staff officials prior to the IMF and World Bank meetings in Washington April 2000. WORT-FM; the Boulder Weekly, KAOS radio of Olympia, Washington; CorporateWatch Web site, and other independent media outlets were all denied access to the meetings.

Elizabeth Robinson, International Board member of the World Association of Community Radio Broadcaster's (AMARC) said: "This IMF categorical exclusion is particularly reprehensible since the IMF/World Bank meetings were being held in the United States capital, a country whose founders championed a free press. In an age of increasing corporate control of media, community media are more important than ever to protecting that freedom."

The National Federation of Community Broadcasters (NFCB), representing over 150 community radio stations in the US, has also called on the IMF "to open its doors and allow access to community media at all its future meetings and events." They are pursuing legal avenues for challenging the policy.

Note to editors:

IMF PRESS POLICY ON COMMUNITY MEDIA RESOLUTION

The below listed freedom of expression organisations, taking part in the Annual Meeting of IFEX, the International Freedom of Expression Exchange, in New York, 20-23 May 2000 resolve to:

- condemn the IMF press policy of withholding press accreditation from community media organisations wishing to cover IMF meetings

- call on the IMF to encourage freedom of expression and opinion by adopting principles of openness and transparency in its own dealings with the media

- request the IMF revoke the policy of excluding community media and allow access to future meetings and events by community media organisations

Signatories:

ARTICLE 19
Canadian Journalists for Free Expression
Center for Media Freedom & Responsibility, Philippines
Centro Nacional de Comunicacion Social (CENCOS)
Committee to Protect Journalists
Freedom House
FORJA, Chile
Freedom of Expression Institute, South Africa
Free Expression Ghana
Glasnost Defence Foundation, Russia
IFLA/FAIFE
Independent Journalism Centre (IJC), Nigeria
Index on Censorship
Institute for the Studies on the Free Flow of Information (ISAI), Indonesia
International Federation of Journalists
International Federation of Journalists, Algiers Center
International PEN
International Press Institute, IPI
Journalists Trade Union, JUHI- Azerbaijan
Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA)
Norwegian Forum for Freedom of Expression (NFFE)
Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)
Sindicato de Periodistas del Paraguay
The Alliance of Independent Journalists, Indonesia
West African Journalists Association
World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters

Non-IFEX member signing:
Center for Defending Freedom of Journalists, Jordan


World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters - AMARC

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