UNESCO Beirut celebrates World Press Freedom Day
Within UNESCO framework to promote an enabling environment for freedom of expression in order to foster development, democracy, and dialogue for a culture of peace and non-violence, UNESCO Office in Beirut, the Lebanese National commission for UNESCO and in collaboration with United Nations Information Center (UNIC), organized a regional conference on Press Freedom: Key Challenges and Professional Responsibility, 7-8 May, 2012 in Beirut- Lebanon.
The conference was under the patronage of Mr. Walid Daouq, Lebanese Minister of Information who stressed the importance of free press. He also talked about the necessity of a media reform and called for the establishment of a media union that could support and protect media professionals as well as organize their work.
Mr. Talal Salman was the key note speaker of the event and talked about Press Freedom Problems, going from the general regional view to the Lebanese specificity. He raised the flag for the critical situation media is going through and in particular, newspapers in the Arab region and Lebanon.
There were five sessions distributed throughout the two days. The topics of the sessions were : Media Attacks and Means of Protection, Censorship and Pressure, New/Digital Media, Challenges of Marketing, Distribution and Broadcasting and finally, Professional and Ethical Responsibility
The aim of the conference was to highlight the various challenges the media body is facing and at the same time pinpoint the professional responsibilities. Those responsibilities when misused are changing careers, economical/social status and even changing communities at large.
The conference was attended by over 50 participants ranging from senior media students from Lebanese universities to university professors and media practitioners passing through young journalists. Following the last session, a set of recommendations were announced based on the various sessions as well as participants interactions. Protection of journalists regardless of their institution/affiliations, acceleration of the endorsement of a new Media law, protection of social media from illegal practices and arbitrary suppression, in addition to fighting impunity at the level of attacking journalists were part of those recommendations.