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Around Europe, the AEJ rallies support for media freedom and independence on World Press Freedom Day

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AEJ members around Europe are taking part in special events to mark the UN’s World Press Freedom Day on (or around) Friday 3 May. This year’s themes include a new Report on the high risks of practising journalism in Armenia, rising political pressures on Bulgarian journalists, renewed campaigns to free jailed Turkish journalists, and the UN’s 3-day international gathering marking 2013 World Press Freedom Day — the theme is Ensuring a safe environment for journalists in all media.

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ARMENIA: 3 May, Yerevan: Presentation of a Survey published by the Journalism Department of Yerevan State University on the restrictive media environment and journalists’ working conditions in Armenia, and a debate with university students. Main speaker: Liana Sayadyan, AEJ Armenia and deputy editor at Hetq Online.

BELGIUM, 3-4 May, Brussels: AEJ Belgian section members will take part in the Journalismfund.eu’s 2013 conference on investigative and data journalism, #dataharvest13 on 3 and 4 May 2013 in Brussels. Together with PEN Vlaanderen Journalismfund.eu will also organize a special event on freedom of speech and freedom of the press on Friday evening 3 May 2013, World Press Freedom Day.

BULGARIA: To mark World Press Freedom Day AEJ-Bulgaria is conducting a nationwide survey of Bulgarian journalists on their perceptions on media freedom in the country. The survey is gathering responses from 29 April to 1 June from journalists working in private and public TV and Radio, press and internet media, including citizens journalists in recognition of the important part they play in sustaining independent journalism in Bulgaria. Organiser: AEJ Bulgaria.

IRELAND: 3 May, Dublin: A journalists’ lunch with Mr Dáithí O’Ceallaigh, Chairman of the Press Council of Ireland as the invited speaker. The meeting is chaired by Eileen Dunne, AEJ Ireland and President of the international AEJ.

SLOVAKIA:  Bratislava: AEJ Slovak section holds round table discussion on safeguarding press freedom based on the results of the MEDIADEM research project, organised with the School of Communication and Media at Bratislava University.

TURKEY: 3 May, Istanbul: The AEJ is part of the Freedom For Journalists Platform which is organising an international Press Freedom Conference in Istanbul on 3 May to publicise the plight of Turkish journalists in jail, facing prosecution, dismissed for writing critically about public affairs, and facing censorship or pressure for self-censorship. Co-organised by Dr Dogan Tilic, AEJ Turkey.

UNITED KINGDOM: 2 May, London: UK Section members will take part in an event at the NUJ’s London headquarters highlighting the campaign for press and media freedom in Turkey and considering how to increase support and solidarity from journalists in other countries. By some estimates, at the start of 2013 Turkey had the highest number of imprisoned journalists in the world.

The event is in cooperation with the European Federation of Journalist, the IFJ and the UK Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom. Main speakers to include Mehmet Koksal, the EFJ Turkey campaign co-ordinator and Coskun Musluk (by video link-up) – academic and columnist for METU and Oda TV, who was imprisoned for 375 days until 12 March 2012.

UNITED NATIONS: 2-4 May, San Jose, Costa Rica: UNESCO is organising this year’s main international event in the Central American state of Costa Rica on the theme Safe to Speak: Ensuring Freedom of Expression in all Media.

William Horsley, of AEJ UK Section and the AEJ’s Media Freedom Representative, will speak on a Panel Session at the conference on Fighting Impunity for crimes of violence against journalists, including murder. It will be the first major international gathering of its kind since the launch in November 2012 of the UN’s ambitious Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, involving all relevant UN agencies, national governments, civil society and media.

Read the 10 AEJ Media Freedom Country Reports presented at the AEJ 2012 Congress in Offida, Italy.

FORTHCOMING PRESS FREEDOM EVENT: 20 June, Brussels: The European Commission will hold its second Speak Up! conference on freedom of expression and media in the Western Balkans and Turkey. AEJ journalists and others are welcome. Speakers will include Stefan Fuele, European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy.

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