30.04.2003 -

World Press Freedom Day 2003 Celebrated in Jamaica

"Unpunished Crimes against Journalists: A Strategy for Reducing Impunity" will be the main theme of this year's World Press Freedom Day (May 3) celebrations, held in Kingston, Jamaica. On this occasion, UNESCO is organizing a 2-day International Conference entitled "Freedom of Expression: Early New Millennium Challenges".

Also in Kingston, it will award the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize to Israeli Journalist Amira Hass on May 2.


The conference, at the Jamaica International Conference Centre, will bring together some 150 media professionals and representatives of professional nongovernmental organizations, as well as government ministers. Debates will focus on the subject of impunity, on safety of journalists, and, on freedom of expression and the new communication and information technologies for the information society.


Jamaica's Minister of Education, Youth and Culture, Maxine Henry-Wilson, who also chairs the country's National Commission for UNESCO, will deliver welcoming remarks at the start of the conference (9 a.m., May 2). The Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, will then give a keynote address. The Prime Minister of Jamaica, Percival J. Patterson, will deliver the official opening address, to be followed by James Ottaway Jr., Chairperson of the World Press Freedom Committee.


A multimedia exhibition by national and international organizations and institutions, will be opened on May 2 (10 a.m.), ahead of the first plenary session, entitled, "Multimedia solutions to challenges in Freedom of Expression". This session will focus on the problem of "Unpunished Crimes against Journalists: A Strategy for Reducing Impunity". A global overview of will be provided by Joel Simon, Acting Director of the international NGO Committee to Protect Journalists which has identified 20 cases of journalists murdered in direct retaliation to their professional work in the course of 2002. The international situation in this area will be addressed by Julio Muñoz, Executive Director of the Inter American Press Association; and Pierre Lemoine, of the NGO Reporters without Borders. Speakers will present case studies on the situation in Brazil, Iran, Nepal, Rwanda, and the Caribbean.


The Second Plenary Session will examine the "Safety of Journalists" and will feature case studies on Afghanistan, presented by Abdul Hameed Mubaraz, Deputy Minister of Information and Culture of Afghanistan; the Basque Country (Spain) by Carmen Gurruchaga Basurto of Antena 3, Madrid; the Caribbean by Debbie Ransome, of the BBC World Service; Israel, by Amira Hass of Ha'aretz newspaper; Colombia, by Marta Ruiz, of the Proyecto Antonio Nariño for the defence of press freedom and human rights; and Zimbabwe by Reyhana Masters-Smith, Chairperson of the Media Institute of Southern Africa.


The official award ceremony of the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize will take place between 6 and 8 p.m. on May 2 at King's House with the participation of the laureate, Amira Hass; of the Governor General of Jamaica, Sir Howard Cooke; the Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura; Oliver J. Clarke, President of the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize jury and Managing Director of the Jamaican publishing group Gleaner Ltd.; and Ana Maria Busquets de Cano, President of the Cano Foundation. The ceremony will be broadcast live by the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) with satellite link provided by the Caribbean Media Corporation.


On May 3, a plenary session (9h00-10h45) will be devoted to "Freedom of Expression in Knowledge Societies: Opportunities" with presentations on the development of participative democracy and world civil society by Mihir Kshirsagar, coordinator of the advocacy coalition Public Voice Coalition, and member of the Washington Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC); new opportunities for new journalism by Hopeton Dunn of the Caribbean Institute for Media and Communication (CARIMAC); legal, economic and policy challenges to creating knowledge societies in the Caribbean, by Bernice Lake, attorney-at-law and Eastern Caribbean Press Council advocate; and the training of journalists by Patrick Butler, of the Washington-based International Center for Journalists.


The following plenary session, 11.15 a.m., will focus on "Obstacles to the full enjoyment of Freedom of Expression in the Information Society", moderated by Ambeyi Ligabo, UN Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression. It will include presentations by Toby Mendel, Law and Asia Programme Director of the nongovernmental freedom of expression organization Article 19 on access to means of communication; Larry Kilman, Director of Communications, World Association of Newspapers, on economical pressures; and Claude Robinson, Research and Policy group, Mona School of Business, University of the West Indies, on the technological challenges facing traditional media systems in the Caribbean.


The session starting at 2.30 p.m., "Freedom of expression, ICT's and Development: What Relationship", moderated by Eduardo Bertoni, Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression, Organization of American States, will feature the following presentations: Economic development and press freedom, by Daniel Kaufmann, Director for Global Governance and for Latin America Capacity Building (LCR) at the World Bank Institute (WBI); A case study: the development of community media centres, by T.R Gopalkrishnan, Lecturer, University of Madras; free community media voices and ICTs for human advancement, by Karin Delgadillo, Executive Director of ChasquiNet, Ecuador; Journalism, new media and HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean, by Jones P. Madeira, Information Adviser, Caribbean Epidemiological Council.


At 4.30 p.m. Oliver Clarke, President of the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano Prize Jury, will chair the final session and closing remarks will be provided by Jamaican Minister of Information Senator Burchell Whiteman, and by Abdul Waheed Khan, UNESCO Assistant-Director General for Communication and Information.


Also on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, on May 2, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and a coalition of media organisations, unions of journalists and press freedom groups will launch the International News Safety Institute (INSI) - a global campaign to create a culture of safety within the media industry.

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