Date: 19 April (TBC)

The situation facing media freedom around the world is perilous. Despite the increased need for accurate, quality news and information during the COVID-19 pandemic, journalists and news organisations worldwide face an alarming level of harassment, threats and direct attacks for simply doing their jobs. 

From Hong Kong to the Netherlands, these challenges are more globally affecting than at any time in recent history.

Reviewing this situation and the ever-increasing number of attacks on media organisations and media workers, the Association for International Broadcasting (AIB) and the Public Media Alliance (PMA) – supported by Al Jazeera Media Network (AJMN) – are partnering to produce an event that has clear practical outcomes and will help influence key players within the media freedom field to address the appalling level of abuses.

A range of online events in 2020 discussed in detail media freedom issues across the globe. These events brought together news media and government representatives in an attempt to foster greater dialogue and understanding. However, talking and reviewing geopolitics and themes is insufficient, in the view of the AIB and PMA. Concerted action is required by the two groups who can make significant, positive affects – news and media organisations, including their journalists, and governments.

News and media organisations as corporate bodies, and their journalists, are essential because while they are the primary victims of media freedom infringements and have access to the most powerful communications on the planet, they do not report or explain the issues well enough or often enough.  The public are ill informed about media freedom violations and largely unaware of the implications of media freedom infringements to themselves and to society.

Take part in our Media Freedom Survey: Find out more below

While the reasons are diverse, it is our view that neither news and media organisations nor governments do enough to combat the attacks on media freedom we witness on a daily basis and hold power to account on media freedom issues.

Our reasoning is that governments are essential to the conversation and advocacy work because they are regularly the perpetrators of, or supporters of, media freedom infringements, and they can affect behaviour within their sphere of influence.

It is not the intention of this Symposium and its associated outcomes to duplicate work taking part in other groupings. This is an additional work stream that will complement other groups’ work and output as well as foster improved dialogue between the participants.

Outcomes

The participants to this Symposium will be news organisations and journalists as well as key civil society groups and organisations who work in media freedom and media development. Such a group of participants will have a strong voice and can influence governments and society at large if they work together. 

In order to have an effect and not be just another well intentioned “discussion only” event, we believe that the Symposium should explore what it could do to bring about real change to media freedom across the globe. This could include tangible, collaborative outcomes such as a joint declaration by attendees or a coordinated campaign across multiple media outlets. 

Full details of the Symposium and registration will be published very soon. You can keep updated by subscribing to the PMA newsletter.

Take part in our media freedom survey


The PMA and AIB are also undertaking a survey among news organisations on media freedom work internationally.

We invite news editors, journalists, producers and executives to complete the survey that will help to inform the Symposium as well as the PMA and AIB’s work on media freedom and their participation in the Advisory Network to the Media Freedom Coalition.

You can access the survey via the link below. It can be completed anonymously if you wish.

Deadline: 28 February 2021

Event partners: 

PMA
AIB