UNESCO media conference to look at journalism in a digital era

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 two-day conference at UNESCO’s Headquarters in Paris, on 16 and 17 February.

The conference dubbed “The Media World after Wikileaks and News of the World”, is organized by the international non-governmental organization World Press Freedom Committee (WPFC) and 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, with an explosion of “citizen journalists”.

They will also discuss the challenges faced by international and domestic law related to privacy, national security, public order and internet freedom and what the future holds for government-media relations.

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 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 streamed live in French and English on the UNESCO website.©

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