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IFJ calls for global solidarity to overcome threats to media

(IFJ/IFEX) - The following is a 30 May 2008 IFJ media release:

Journalists Call for Global Solidarity to Overcome Threats to Media

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) says global battles for safety, decent work and quality journalism can only be won if journalists stand together in defence of their rights.

In a statement marking World Press Freedom Day 2008, the IFJ has called for a renewal of global solidarity among journalists to combat the threats facing media.

"The future of journalism depends upon building fresh solidarity," said IFJ President Jim Boumelha. "Our work is at the heart of the struggle for democracy and human rights."

The IFJ says the future of journalism will not be guaranteed by politically-inspired publicity stunts or by dumbing down media and cutting editorial budgets.

"In recent days we have taken our message of solidarity to China, Pakistan, Russia, Mexico and Iraq," said Boumelha. "In all of these places journalists are under pressure. Our colleagues will succeed in defending their rights if they work together, reach out to everyone in journalism old and new, and build bridges that will make journalism strong. Wherever there is division and discord it is only the enemies of press freedom who prosper."

Across the globe, unions belonging to the IFJ, the world's largest journalists' group, are marking World Press Freedom Day with national events and activities to highlight the crisis facing people working in journalism.

In Europe, Arne Konig the Chair of the EFJ said: "World Press Freedom Day gives us an opportunity showcase how quality journalism is vital for democracy and can only be achieved when journalists have access to decent working conditions and respect for their role".

The EFJ says that pressure on journalists to reveal sources of information and residual political interference are key challenges facing journalists and media.

"But we cannot ignore the impact of the economic crisis that has overtaken much of Europe's media. Quality journalism is suffering as media owners impose devastating cuts in editorial budgets," said Konig.

The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries worldwide.

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