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WORLD PRESS FREEDOM DAY EVENTS IN THE AMERICAS

The World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC) will be in Maputo, Mozambique as part of UNESCO's official programme to talk about how community broadcasting is one of the best ways to reach the poorest and most marginalised. It will also present to the world its 14 principles for a democratic legislation on community broadcasting, which comes out of an investigation on best practices in 26 countries. You'll be sure to hear the buzzwords "diversity", "pluralism" and "access for all". AMARC's annual report on free expression and diversity in broadcasting in the Americas and the Caribbean, which reviews the situation in 10 countries, is also ready for your perusal. Email: gusgomez (@) chasque (.) apc (.) org or find all of these goodies here from 5 May: http://www.amarc.org/ or http://legislaciones.amarc.org/

The Centre for Informative Reports on Guatemala (CERIGUA) punches in with its 2007 report on free expression in Guatemala. On the surface, the situation seems to have improved since last year, with fewer violations reported. But that might be because reporters are keeping quiet to avoid experiencing the wrath of the "poderes paralelos", or "parallel powers" - the groups involved in organised crime, the drug trade, human trafficking and other illicit activities - which have penetrated the small country and are the newest threat to free expression. Read about how they've made their mark in Guatemala and other parts of Latin America here: http://www.ifex.org/download/es/CERIGUA_Informe2007.doc

The Mexico branch of ARTICLE 19 will be releasing its annual report on attacks on the press in Mexico in May. The situation does not bode well, with at least 24 journalists and media workers killed in the past eight years, eight missing and dozens more threatened or attacked in the line of duty. An international mission made up of 11 international organisations, including a slew of IFEX members, just returned from a visit last week and found that organised crime, corruption, and the lack of political will and effective governments are the main threats to free expression - no doubt those findings will be reflected in the report. Look out for it at: http://www.article19.org

ARTICLE 19's Brazil office will reveal the results of a questionnaire that got up close and personal with its local members. How would they describe the press freedom conditions in the country, and what are the main challenges of freely expressing themselves? For the answers, email: maira (@) article19 (.) org

Last March, BBC reporter Alan Johnston was kidnapped by a group of Palestinian militants while on assignment in Gaza. After 114 days and perhaps as many rallies around the world demanding his release, he was finally freed. What went through his head in those 114 days? What advice does he have for journalists working in the world's hotspots? And how much of a role did we play in securing his release? Lucky Canadians can ask him themselves, because Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE), the Canadian Media Guild and the International Development Research Centre proudly present "Free to Express Himself", an evening with Alan Johnston on 30 April in Toronto, his only public appearance in Canada. For details, see: http://tinyurl.com/6d5tyq

Which countries are among the deadliest for journalists and the worst at solving these murders? Colombia, Mexico, Russia and the Philippines are, according to a new "Impunity Index" by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). CPJ has found that justice is served in less than 15 percent of journalists' murders, and that the absence of justice promotes a higher incidence of murder. Check out the index, being released especially for World Press Freedom Day, to see where your country ranks: http://www.cpj.org/impunityindex/index.html

Freedom House is launching its 2008 Freedom of the Press survey - which has evidently not good news to report, especially for the Arab world. This year, Freedom House is going big - literally. A 36-foot-wide version of its press freedom map will be unveiled at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. on 29 April, and become part of the permanent collection. If the U.S. isn't in your travel plans, bookmark Freedom House's website to get the survey hot off the press (available from 29 April): http://www.freedomhouse.org/

Other IFEX member events:

- The Guatemalan Journalists' Association (APG) pays tribute to the journalists who "gave their blood" to do their work: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/93292/

- Violence continues to be the greatest obstacle to freedom of the press in the Americas, with 20 journalists murdered since last 3 May, says the Inter American Press Association: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/93209/

Other events:

- The National Association of Peruvian Journalists (ANP) is holding a demo at UN Park in Lima on 3 May to pay tribute to journalists who have given their lives for their profession, including Reuters cameraman Fadel Shana, who was killed in the Gaza Strip this month. Live broadcast starting at 9am: http://www.cronicaviva.com.pe (click on the radio link on the upper right part of the page)

- ANP and the Colombian Journalists Federation (FECOLPER) are also launching a campaign against the use of taxpayer money to fund tools used to extort money from independent journalists. Contact: anp (@) amauta (.) rcp (.) net (.) pe

- The International Journalists' Network (IJNet) wants to know what press freedom means to you. Post your comments here: http://tinyurl.com/6jg5oa

- The Association of Caribbean MediaWorkers takes on the sizeable task of raising free expression awareness in a region "in social and economic transition, challenged by changing global circumstances (and) impaired by a colonial legacy": http://www.acmediaworkers.com

(updated 6 May 2008)

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