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WORLD PRESS FREEDOM DAY EVENTS IN THE AMERICAS

Many of our Americas members have headed off to Colombia to attend the UNESCO event - the Bogotá-based Foundation for Press Freedom (Fundación para la Libertad de Prensa, FLIP), Institute for Press and Society (Instituto Prensa y Sociedad, IPYS) of Peru, and Inter American Press Association (IAPA) based in Miami, U.S., all have heavyweights representing this year's theme on the different panels (see the programme here: http://tinyurl.com/2olag3). Local activities are also taking place in the region. From south to north:

Beyond participating in the UNESCO events in Medellín, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is founding a national union for Colombia for "free, responsible and safe journalism" at a congress on 1-2 May. Besides discussing the avalanche of violations against journalists in the country, the participants from 24 regional organisations are also exchanging tips on how to protect and promote their own rights to housing, health benefits, and training as part of a federation.
See: http://www.ceso-fip.com
Gathering on 3 May in Mexico City for the 30 journalists killed in the past seven years in Mexico, the five disappeared and the seven media institutions that have withstood attacks, are a number of local media organisations including the Mexican branches of ARTICLE 19 and Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontières, RSF).
Email: [email protected]
Probidad in Paraguay is busily putting together an electronic report on free expression in Central America to mark 3 May. Check the website: http://www.probidad.org/tiki-index.php

The situation in Sub-Saharan Africa does not bode well in the US-based Committee to Protect Journalists' (CPJ) special report on the top 10 "Backsliders", the countries where press freedom has most deteriorated in the past five years. Ethiopia leads the CPJ dishonour roll, with the Gambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo not far behind. Once again, Russia and Cuba make the cut. Rounding out the top 10 are Pakistan, Egypt, Azerbaijan, Morocco and Thailand. Get your copy of the report - available in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic and Russian - here: http://www.cpj.org

The 1998 murder of journalist Tara Singh Hayer did not take place in a remote village in the Punjab. Hayer was killed in his garage in Canada. More than eight years later, his murder remains unsolved, just like 85 per cent of media workers' murder cases. So this year, Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) is asking you to mark 3 May by learning more about the people who lost their lives to deliver your news. To guide you, check out the impunity section on the CJFE website, with reports specifically on Eritrea, Ethiopia the Philippines and Latin America: http://www.cjfe.org/wpfd/wpfdindex.html

The pen is still mightier than the sword, says Canada's National Press Club and the Canadian Newspaper Association. They're celebrating the champions of press freedom and their accomplishments in years gone by in style - at a 3 May luncheon at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, which is supported by CJFE.
See: http://www.pressclub.on.ca/
Scholars, journalists, members of Congress and the administration were invited to examine "21st Century Threats to Media Freedom" with Freedom House and the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG). The 1 May event in Washington D.C. looked at the media climate in Russia, Zimbabwe, Venezuela, China, Egypt and Iran. If you couldn't get a seat for the sold out event, check out the webcast and Freedom House's Freedom of the Press 2007 survey, which notes that the press freedom situation improved in Italy, Nepal, Colombia and Haiti, but the rest of the world did not fare so well. On 3 May, Freedom House is hosting "Free to Speak", at the National Press Club in Washington D.C., a discussion on press freedom trends in the Middle East.
See: http://www.freedomhouse.org
Other IFEX member events:
- IAPA will be participating in a panel discussion on press freedom in Latin America, Brasilia, Brazil, 8 May: http://www.sipiapa.org
Non-member events:
- Communication "market day" of journalists and media, Toluca de Lerdo, Mexico, 3-4 May, email: [email protected]
- "Media Democracy, Media Laws and Access to Information: Challenges for Caribbean Journalists and Media Organisations, St Lucia, 2-3 May: http://tinyurl.com/33vwkj
- International Women's Media Foundation launches a World Press Freedom Day blog: http://www.iwmf.org/
- International Center for Journalists hosts an interactive discussion on press freedom: http://www.ijnet.org
(1 May 2007)

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