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IFJ Backs Russian and Asian Unions in Campaign to Rebuild Trust in Media

May 14, 2009

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is backing a regional campaign led by journalists' leaders from Russia, Turkey and Central Asia to strengthen quality journalism in the face of political pressure and a media crisis across the region.

IFJ leaders joined the Russian Union of Journalists (RUJ) and hundreds of journalists from the region who attended a week-long forum entitled "Journalism and Media Markets - Global Challenges and Perspectives" in the Turkish resort of Antalya which ended today.

In the first forum of its kind in the region sponsored jointly by the IFJ and UNESCO, participants concluded with a challenging statement aimed at confronting a deepening crisis in media which has seen standards falling in the face of corporate and political pressure on media.

The forum was officially opened on May 7 by IFJ President Jim Boumelha, RUJ President Vsevolod Bogdanov who read greetings from Russia's president Dmitry Medvedev and UNESCO's Special Adviser Henrikas Yushikavitshius who delivered a message on behalf of Director General Koichiro Matsuura.

Boumelha praised the organisers, the Russian Journalists' Union and the Antalya Gazeteciler Cemiyeti, and said: "This conference is taking place at a time of a deep global crisis - economic downturn, climate change, terrorism and conflict, poverty and disease. It will take the kind of energy that I see at this gathering - and much more - to sustain what is good in our journalism, to improve what is deficient and to push back against the forces and the trends that imperil journalism today."

The main topics of the crisis and future of journalism and the challenges faced by journalists in protecting their rights and fighting to maintain quality and high standards were addressed in every session.

Leaders and journalists from unions and associations, as well as professors of journalism, from Russia, Turkey, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan spoke about the state of journalism in the Caucasus and Asian regions.

In a concluding session, IFJ General Secretary Aidan White called for a new solidarity among journalists to defend ethical journalism and welcomed plans to launch the IFJ's Ethical Journalism Initiative campaign in Russia and the region. "Journalists everywhere are waking up to the reality that unless we stand together and fight for standards and independence, the future of journalism is bleak," he said.

Boumelha added "I don't think that many organisations have done more than our unions to promote national, regional and global inter-media dialogue as an essential part of strategies for peace-building that facilitate discussion and build democratic exchange. This conference is an example how it should be done."

RUJ President Vsevolod Bogdanov said "The trust between the media and the audience, between society and politics, between representatives of different countries and cultures - these questions are vital everywhere as never before."

For more information contact:
International Federation of Journalists
Phone: +32 2 235 2207

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