The International Press Institute (IPI) is an independent, non-governmental, not-for-profit organisation.
Oversight of IPI’s activities is carried out on various levels. The General Assembly and the Executive Board are the organisation’s highest governing bodies. IPI’s day-to-day work is conducted by a professional secretariat in Vienna headed by an executive director. In some countries, National Committees formed by IPI members assist in carrying out the organisation’s work at the national level.
The IPI Constitution sets forth the rules and responsibilities of each body and establishes the fundamental principles and operating procedures to be observed by the organisation as a whole.
As a leading civil society organisation engaged in the promotion of meda freedom and media independence, IPI is committed to acting according to the highest standards of ethics and accountability. IPI’s governance model is based on democratic principles that reflect long-held values of diversity, equality and transparency.
The IPI Executive Board is elected by the General Assembly with regard to geographic, gender and media diversity. The Board oversees IPI’s finances and guides the Secretariat in implementing the organisation’s overall strategy in defence of media freedom. Members serve three-year terms, extendable for a second term. The Board elects a Chairperson for a two-year term, extendable for one additional year. IPI’s Constitution sets forth the Board’s responsibilities and election procedures in further detail.
The General Assembly is IPI’s ultimate decision-making body. Composed of all IPI members, the General Assembly meets annually during IPI’s World Congress to set the organisation’s overall programme and policy. The General Assembly also elects members of the Executive Board, approves the previous year’s accounts and votes on the budget for the current year as recommended by the Executive Board. Changes to IPI’s Constitution require the General Assembly’s approval.
As the direct representative of IPI’s membership, the General Assembly acts as a strong and influential voice in defence of media freedom around the world. The locations for the General Assembly and World Congress are frequently chosen so as to advance particular advocacy goals and to show solidarity with local media communities. Moreover, each year the General Assembly adopts resolutions on media-freedom topics of urgent global, regional or national importance.
The IPI Constitution was first drafted by the IPI Organising Committee in Paris in 1951. While the Constitution has been amended on several occasions since, its Preamble, written in the shadow of the Second World War, has remained the same:
World peace depends on understanding between peoples and peoples. If peoples are to understand one another, it is essential that they have good information. Therefore, a fundamental step towards understanding among peoples is to bring about understanding among the journalists of the world.
In accordance with this belief there is established an organisation to work towards the following objectives:
The furtherance and safeguarding of freedom of the press, by which is meant: free access to the news, free transmission of news, free publication of newspapers, free expression of views.
The achievement of understanding amongst journalists and so among peoples.
The promotion of the free exchange of accurate and balanced news among nations.
In order to effectively and independently fulfil its mandate in support of media freedom and the free flow of news, IPI relies upon a variety of funding sources. These sources may be broadly grouped as follows:
IPI membership fees
Revenue from IPI’s World Congress and other events
Grants from trusts and foundations; government agencies; multilateral institutions; and private corporations
All potential funding sources are rigorously screened for compatibility with IPI’s core values. Financial contributions from any source that may compromise IPI’s reputation and independence or that may otherwise hinder the fulfilment of its mandate are not accepted.