News journalism in a digital world

© News of the World / The New York Times - Have the release of leaked U.S. diplomatic cables by WikiLeaks and the News of the World phone-hacking scandal changed news journalism?

News professionals and executives from some of the world’s leading media, academics, media law experts and representatives of press freedom organizations will explore the future of professional journalism in the digital environment at a conference at UNESCO’s Headquarters on 16 and 17 February.

The Media World after Wikileaks and News of the World is organized by the international non-governmental organization World Press Freedom Committee (WPFC) in cooperation with UNESCO. It will assess the impact on professional journalism - with its established practices, traditions and standards - of new approaches and actors working in a digital environment.

An estimated 2 billion people were using the internet in 2011 and producing 156 million public blogs, constituting a new type of communication by so-called citizen journalists.

Participants will examine the fallout from the Wikileaks episode and the News of the World phone hacking scandal in the UK, and try to map a way forward to promote professional and ethical standards in the digital environment.

Speaking about UNESCO’s goal, enshrined in its Constitution, to promote the “free flow of ideas by word and image”, the Organization’s Director-General Irina Bokova said in a message to participants: “Dedication to this goal today still needs constant renewal in response to events, political developments and new media environment […] All of this raises important questions – questions about regulation and security, about the balance between expression and responsibility, about accountability and credibility.”

The Director-General will open the conference.  The two-day programme includes six panel debates that will examine how professional media deal with the digital environment; professionalism and ethics in the new media environment after WikiLeaks and News of the World; freedom of expression on the internet; and more.

The range of speakers from all parts of the world will ensure that these questions are considered from the different perspectives of the global media village.

This is the second UNESCO conference on the challenges posed by digital media to journalism. The first, held five years ago, focused on The Press Freedom Dimension of new media, which was also organized with WPFC.

Both events are part of UNESCO’s Communication and Information activities to promote freedom of expression, press freedom and access to information.

The conference is co-sponsored by the World Association of Newspapers & News Publishers (WAN-IFRA), the World Editors Forum and the International Press Institute with the support of: JP-Politiken Publishing Group (Copenhagen, Denmark); Open Society Foundation’s Network Media Program (London, UK) and the Nicholas B. Ottaway Foundation (New York, USA).


The Conference will be livestreamed at mms://


    Journalists wishing to cover the event require accreditation, contact:

        Isabelle Le Fournis: i.le.fournis(at) +33(0)1 45 68 17 48

                    Djibril Kébé d.kebe(at) +33(0)1 45 68 17 41



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