International Parliamentary Seminar on Media Freedom
Globally, threats to journalists are the highest they have been in ten years and according to Freedom House, a mere 13% of the global population have access to a free press. As highlighted in a recent House of Lords Library publication, UNESCO says every day serves as a reminder that “in dozens of countries around the world, publications are censored, fined, suspended and closed down, while journalists, editors and publishers are harassed, attacked, detained and even murdered”.
Then UK Foreign Secretary, Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP launched in late 2018 the FCO’s international campaign to promote media freedom and co-hosted with his Canadian counterpart, Chrystia Freeland PC MP, from 10-11 July 2019, the world’s first Global Conference on Media Freedom. The FCO’s campaign and global conference provided an opportunity to evaluate domestic and international developments, and bring some vision to how to defend media freedom and end impunity for those who commit crimes against journalists. The Global Conference also saw the adoption of a Global Pledge on Media Freedom adopted by participating governments to counter threats to media freedom and to recognise that urgent action is needed both globally and locally.
Complementary to FCO efforts, the UK Parliament has hosted an International Parliamentary Seminar on Media Freedom and the Protection of Journalists under the auspices of the British Group of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (BGIPU). The Chair of the British Group of the IPU, Rt Hon John Whittingdale MP, has convened members of parliament from across the world to take part in this event in the Attlee Suite of Portcullis House at the Palace of Westminster in London with a programme from from 9.00am Monday 9th September to 12.30pm Wednesday 11th September 2019.
The purpose of the International Parliamentary Seminar on Media Freedom was to bring together parliamentarians from a wide array of countries to collaborate with other key stakeholders and explore the parliamentary dimension of media protection. It allowed for follow-up to the key outcomes from the FCO conference in July and provided an opportunity to discuss parliament-driven solutions to issues affecting journalists and the media industry. A gallery of official photographs from the Seminar is now online. The report on the Seminar Proceedings & Outcomes is published below.
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