Members of the International Press Institute (IPI) today urged Germany and other EU member states, as well as the EU itself, to embrace their role as defenders of human rights globally, including the rights to freedom of expression and the press, amid troubling times for media freedom.
The members made the call in a resolution adopted at their 66th annual General Assembly during the IPI World Congress in Hamburg, Germany. They also called for an end to pressure on independent media in Egypt, Ethiopia, Turkey and Zambia, and for a release of journalists imprisoned in the former three countries.
The full text of the respective resolutions is available via the following links:
The IPI members further expressed growing concern about the state of media freedom in Mexico, where at least seven journalists have been murdered in 2017 alone, including acclaimed investigative journalist Javier Valdez Cárdenas, who was gunned down on May 15 outside his office in the state of Sinaloa.
Members noted with deep disappointment that Mexico’s federal government has failed to stem an unabated tide of violence against the country’s press. Dozens of journalists have lost their lives in connection with their work in Mexico in the last decade. However, the vast majority of these cases remain unsolved, despite the creation of a federal special prosecutor dedicated to crimes against the press as well as a safety mechanism to protect journalists under threat.
IPI members called on Mexican authorities to take immediate and effective measures to ensure that all journalists operating in the country are able to cover issues of critical public importance without fear of violent retaliation and to swiftly bring those responsible for crimes against journalists to justice.
In other news, members of IPI’s Executive Board re-elected American journalist John Yearwood as the Board’s chair following today’s General Assembly. They also voted to make Ken Choi, deputy editor of the Chosun Ilbo in South Korea, a vice chair.
Choi joins current vice chairs Ken MacQuarrie of Scotland, the BBC director of nations and regions; Markus Spillmann, former editor-in-chief of the Neue Zürcher Zeitung in Switzerland; and Dawn Thomas, CEO of One Caribbean Media Ltd. in Trinidad and Tobago.
Following the meeting, Yearwood said: “I’m humbled by the trust that the IPI board and IPI members have in me and my service to the organisation. The congress showed how much work is still to be done on behalf of press freedom. I will be redoubling my efforts in the coming months and years to help colleagues whose words are being stifled or who are being imprisoned for their work.”
The selection of officers came after Yearwood and Daoud Kuttab, director general of the Community Media Network in Jordan, were re-elected to seats on the Executive Board during the General Assembly. It also followed the election of two new Executive Board members: Mahfuz Anam, editor and publisher of The Daily Star in Bangladesh, and Riyad Mathew, senior assistant editor and director of the Malayala Manorama in India.
Both Anam and Mathew expressed appreciation for the chance to serve on IPI’s Executive Board.
“I’m absolutely honoured to be part of a famous global institution devoted to the ideals of freedom of journalism and ethical journalist,” Anam said. “I hope to serve my term with full dedication.”
Mathew added: “It’s an honour to be elected as a board member of the IPI. Press freedom has become all the more important in today’s world. IPI has played an integral part in this issue for years. I hope to add to this great cause in my tenure as a board member.”
Anam and Mathew succeed, respectively, Monjurul Ahsan Bulbul of Bangladesh and N. Ravi of India, who both left the Executive Board after serving the maximum two terms. Yearwood, Kuttab, Anam and Mathew were each elected to serve a three-year term on the Board.