Agricultural Journalists want to support freedom of press

What can journalists do to support freedom of the press? The International Federation of Agricultural Journalist (IFAJ) discussed this issue on Friday the 16th of January during the Green Week in Berlin.

Freedom of the press is a main topic in of the IFAJ. Journalist organizations from countries without this freedom of the press can’t become a member. But IFAJ want to support agricultural journalists in these countries. “IFAJ should embrace those journalists”, David Dadge said. He is the director of the International Press Institute, a watchdog on media freedom. He explained that the famine in China in the fifties would not have happened if China had had media freedom. More than 20 million people died in this catastrophe. “Freedom of the press decides about life and death. Where hunger is, there is no media freedom.”

Karla Sponar, freelance journalist and lecturer for media governance, said that even in democratic countries censorship is present. Governance and economic players put pressure on media. As a solution she proposed international standards and media monitoring by international networks. Quality and ethics in journalism can help.

Elke Schäfter, director of Reporters without Borders in Berlin, highlighted the work of her organization. The main goal is to give journalists in those countries a voice and to make oppression public.

  • There are many ways how freedom of the press can be supported by:
  • Hotlines that journalists in danger can use,
  • networking with journalists,
  • blogging,

and by honoring journalists who fight for freedom of the press. Iurri Mykhailov from Ukraine told the audience how a new guild of agricultural journalist, built on freedom of the press, was established with the help of IFAJ. “Many journalists want to join us now, because the access to information is essential for our work.”

The press workshop was organized by the IFAJ and the Verband Deutscher Agrar Journalisten (VDAJ).

For more information e-mail:
IFAJ General Secretary, Owen Roberts: owen(at)uoguelph.ca or
IFAJ Executive Secretary, Connie Siemes: secretary(at)ifaj.org

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