World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers

Global Press Freedoms Organisations begin Press Freedom Mission to the United Kingdom

Global Press Freedoms Organisations begin Press Freedom Mission to the United Kingdom


Amid deep international concern about press freedoms in the United Kingdom, an unprecedented international mission to London begins today to investigate the British government’s actions relating to newspaper regulation and the handling of revelations of state surveillance.

Top-level meetings are being held with the Secretary of State for Culture Maria Miller MP; John Whittingdale MP the Chairman of the Culture Select Committee; Guardian editor, Alan Rusbridger; freedom of expression and civil society groups; professional bodies; industry representatives; and academics to discuss worrying developments in the UK.

Previous press freedom missions have been to countries such as Ethiopia, South Africa, Libya, Yemen, Tunisia, Mexico, Honduras, Ecuador, Colombia, Guatemala, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Myanmar, but this is the first ever mission to the United Kingdom.

The mission has been organised by the Paris-based World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA). Chief Executive, Vincent Peyrègne said:

“The WAN-IFRA membership is deeply concerned by the British authorities’ treatment of the profession of journalism and its attempts to control the public debate.

“The British government’s actions have far reaching consequences across the globe - particularly within the Commonwealth - and any threats to the independence of journalism in Britain could be used by repressive regimes worldwide to justify their own controls over the press.
“We will endeavour to investigate all elements that threaten the United Kingdom’s position as a bastion for free and independent media with the same rigour as we have approached other international press freedom hotspots in nearly 70 years of defending freedom of expression worldwide.”

The delegation will meet with as many different organisations as possible in order to publish a report in February outlining its conclusions that will be disseminated to other parts of the world.


Editors’ notes

•    This mission takes place in London, 15-17 January 2014

•    The WAN-IFRA delegation includes:
Erik Bjereger - Editor-in-Chief and Managing Director, Kristeligt Dagblad, Denmark / President, World Editors Forum; Vincent Peyrègne - CEO, WAN-IFRA; Zaffar Abbas - Editor-in-Chief, Dawn, Pakistan; Roger Parkinson - Former President and Publisher of the StarTribune/Former Publisher, CEO, and Chairman of the Toronto Globe and Mail / Past President, WAN-IFRA; Randi Øgrey - CEO, Mediebedriftenes Landsforening, Norway; Kjersti Løken Stavrum - General Secretary, Norwegian Press Council; Matti Kalliokoski - Senior editorial writer, Helsingen Sanomat, Finland; Jonathan Cooper - VP, Digital First Media, USA; Ebbe Dal, Chair of the European Newspaper Publishers Association Committee of Directors.

•    The delegation will also include observers from the Inter-American Press Association (IAPA), the International Association of Broadcasting (IAB), the International Press Institute (IPI), the World Press Freedom Committee (WPFC), and Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

•    WAN-IFRA, based in Paris, France, and Darmstadt, Germany, with subsidiaries in Singapore and India, is the global organisation of the world’s newspapers and news publishers. It represents more than 18,000 publications, 15,000 online sites and over 3,000 companies in more than 120 countries. Its core mission is to defend and promote press freedom, quality journalism and editorial integrity and the development of prosperous businesses.

Inquiries to: Larry Kilman, Deputy CEO and Director of Communications and Public Affairs, WAN-IFRA, 96 bis, rue Beaubourg, 75003 Paris France. Tel: +33 1 47 42 85 07. Fax: +33 1 42 78 92 33. Mobile: +33 6 10 28 97 36. E-mail:

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In countless countries, journalists, editors and publishers are physically attacked, imprisoned, censored, suspended or harassed for their work. WAN-IFRA is committed to defending freedom of expression by promoting a free and independent press around the world. Read more ...