Monday, 1 June 2009

Hope for free media--IFEX 09

PFF joins as IFEX member orgs reach 90
The Pacific Freedom Forum and eight other organisations were formally welcomed into the fold of leading global freedom of expression network, IFEX, in its 2009 general conference. The move doubles Pacific membership to the International Freedom of Expression Exchange, and is aimed at strengthening the media watchdog role of the Pacific Islands News Association. Other organisations voted into the IFEX family this week in Oslo, Norway, are C-Libre, the Committee for Free Expression (Honduras),.
OLA, the Latin American Observatory for FOE (Peru/Latin America), MADA, the Palestinan Centre for Development and Media Freedom (West Bank), and five other interim members who had submitted applications during the last IFEX general meeting
PINA, who have been former convenors of IFEX, and PFF, who stepped up the media monitoring of violations in the Pacific in the last year, are here with more than 100 media freedom advocates from some of the most dangerous and difficult countries and regions in the world.
Amongst them, Zoe Titus from the Media Institute of Southern Africa MISA, a strong advocate of media freedom spanning the 11 Southern African countries.
Titus explained that MISA joined IFEX soon after its formation because it realized the huge networking opportunities IFEX presented and with the aim of using IFEX as a platform for promoting freedom of expression in Southern Africa on the Global Stage.
“In Southern Africa there is a whole range of Violations to Freedom of Expression from the banning and closure of News Papers to the arrest and persecution of JournalistsTitus said one of MISA’s current strategies is working together with Civil Society organizations to lobby at the Policy level for the protection of Freedom of Expression.
Vietnamese journalist Phillip Hyun is the outside or external contact for Oppressed Media Workers in Vietnam. Based in the USA, Hyun helps journalists in Vietnam get their stories out into the world.
Operating as the Free Journalist Network of Vietnam, Hyun says his organization joined IFEX to try and learn ways in which it could improve its capacity to assist Journalists in Vietnam.
He says the major media freedom issue faced in Vietnam, a communist country, is that government has full control of the media and abuses their authority by censoring all information published in the local media.
Hyun said any journalists brave enough to speak out against the government were promptly arrested and thrown in jail -- in fact, some of the people he worked with had been in jail for a very long time now.
“Despite the hopelessness of the situation in Vietnam, it is my view that speaking out against these violations against basic human rights must be carried out regularly if for nothing else than to give encouragement to those in dire straits with authorities.”
“We must always criticize governments for their abuses of freedom of expression, because if we don’t they will do whatever they please. If we give up now then what hope is there for a future?—Koroi Hawkins/Lisa W.Lahari, Oslo.

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