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WORLD PRESS FREEDOM DAY EVENTS IN EUROPE AND CENTRAL ASIA

What do you do if you want to shut somebody up but your country has lax libel legislation? Travel to a country with harsher laws, apparently. ARTICLE 19 and Freedom House are putting on an event in London on 2 May to expose "libel tourism" in the United Kingdom and its chilling effect on free speech. Arrive on time to hear Freedom House's main findings from its 2008 Freedom of the Press survey. For event details, click here: http://www.article19.org/pdfs/other/uk-libel-tourism.pdf

The fury of terrorist groups, criminal organisations, religious extremists. Sounds like the makings of a war zone, but according to Reporters Without Borders (RSF), this is what you might face as a media professional in Denmark, the Spanish Basque country, Northern Ireland, Sicily and the French suburbs. RSF's new report, "Risks Faced by Journalists in Europe", will be available on 3 May. RSF is also coming out with its hotly anticipated annual publications. Put a face to the name of the top predators of press freedom in 2008 with RSF's latest exposé, or buy the new photo book dedicated to the work of French photographer Bettina Rheims. Proceeds from the album will go to RSF's press freedom work. All publications are available at: http://www.rsf.org

Other events:

- The U.K. National Commission for UNESCO debates, "Is new media killing new journalism?" Talks in London, U.K., 2 May (with live streaming): http://www.frontlineclub.com and also in Wales, as per the Welsh experience. The National Commission has also hooked up with "The Guardian" to host a journalism competition for U.K. university students to write a 1,000-word article or produce a three-minute radio or podcast on the topic. See: http://tinyurl.com/6xh8rm

- The Finnish Union of Journalists weighs in on censorship in China at a seminar on 29 April in Helsinki, with the Newspaper Association, PEN-Finland, Amnesty, the Media and Development Foundation VIKES, and the Finnish UNESCO committee. On 3 May itself, speak your mind at "Hyde Park" meetings in market squares across the country, organised by regional papers. Contact: juha (.) rekola (@) journalistiliitto (.) fi

- The Trade Union of Croatian Journalists (TUCJ) is holding "Five Minutes of Roaring Silence" on 3 May at 11.55am. Journalists should stop working, and instead read or broadcast a TUCJ statement for the occasion and play slow music to express their protest against media violations in Croatia. Contact: sinoh (@) hnd (.) hr

- Journalists in Azerbaijan discussed the woeful press freedom situation in their country, one of top five jailers of journalists, and the deteriorating situation in 2008, an election year, before walking to the graves of slain editors Najaf Najafov and Elmar Huseynov: http://www.irfs.az/content/view/724/28/

- Last year, many of the attacks on journalists in Romania came from top politicians, says the Media Monitoring Agency's annual report: http://www.mma.ro/

- OSCE calls on member governments to lift legal restrictions and protect journalists from violence: http://www.osce.org/item/30943.html

- Have your say on "media freedom in times of crisis" on the Council of Europe's online discussion forum: http://mediafreedom.cws.coe.int

(updated 6 May 2008)

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