World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers


World’s Publishers Endorse UK Press Freedom Report

World’s Publishers Endorse UK Press Freedom Report

2014-04-11

WAN-IFRA Executive Committee endorses organisation’s report findings on press freedom in the United Kingdom; Committee calls on the British government to “take steps to ensure it upholds the high standards of press freedom expected from a leading democracy.”

Download the report at http://www.wan-ifra.org/node/101035/

The Executive Committee of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA), meeting in London today (11 April), endorsed the findings of the organisation’s press freedom report published following a fact-finding delegation of international editors visited the United Kingdom earlier this year.

The report reiterates serious industry concerns regarding the reform of the regulatory system in the United Kingdom, while revealing cautious optimism from those who believe current proposals to be an opportunity to restore public trust following Lord Justice Leveson’s Inquiry into press standards.

The report also  calls for any regulatory system of the press to have the support of the industry, and for reform discussions to be transparent and open to public consultation.

The mission report also details UK government interference in the editorial independence of the Guardian newspaper, calling for stronger support for public interest journalism. The intense pressure applied by UK authorities following publication of digital surveillance stories based on leaked information from NSA whistle-blower, Edward Snowden, provoked a high level of international solidarity with the Guardian’s position from within the WAN-IFRA membership.

“One of the major fears expressed during our recent mission to London is that press freedom violations in the UK can be used by repressive regimes to excuse their own actions,” said Tomas Brunegård, President of WAN-IFRA and Chairman of Sweden’s Stampen Group. “Interference of any kind with serious public interest journalism that is conducted in pursuit of a legitimate news story is not something we expect in established democracies."

The Executive Committee endorsed the report findings that also call for:

- The British government to reiterate clearly to the international community that it continues to support a free and independent press.

- Foreign governments not to transpose like-for-like the British model of regulation, calling for internationally recognised standards of freedom of expression to be applied to specific national contexts.

- Calls for the highest standards of professionalism and ethical practice at every level of the media industry.

The full report can be downloaded at http://www.wan-ifra.org/node/101035/

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: larry.kilman@wan-ifra.org

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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 ...