With the overarching objective of confronting challenges to media freedom that occur both internally within the media itself (such as professional practice issues, awareness of rights and responsibilities, self-censorship, etc.), as well as external environmental factors (legislation, safety, censorship, etc.), WAN-IFRA intends to empower media professionals to address what they themselves consider the greatest threats to press freedom.
WAN-IFRA assists each Media Freedom Committee in developing relevant, applicable solutions to these challenges that are right for each local context – solutions that strengthen the skills and expertise of the local industry to better defend against attack, promote the public interest, and explicitly demonstrate the value of a free media to broader society.
WAN-IFRA designed the Media Freedom Committee concept to help bridge a perceived gap between media and wider society (a common theme globally), while at the same time examining the critical debates surrounding issues of public trust, professionalism, quality and sustainable journalism, etc.
The Committees are designed as a tool to assist media in reaching out to the communities in which they operate, rebuilding where necessary and strengthening where possible the ties that link an informed public to a professional media.
The issues affecting media are crucial for wider society given how often media is described as the watchdog of broader freedoms, providing transparency and accountability, a platform for critical thinking and debate between opposing views, and informing active citizens in the process of shaping their country. For a number of reasons, media is often no longer seen to be playing this role, while conversely, the public sees little of their interest reflected in the fate of the media.
Professional Peer-to-Peer Support
The Committees are made up of individual publishers, editors and senior journalists representing WAN-IFRA’s partner media houses in each country. Members work collectively on setting an agenda, establishing activities, and implementing media freedom advocacy actions in each country, as well as regionally and on a global scale.
Media Freedom Committees around the world
Africa: Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Asia: Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, The Philippines
Latin America: Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico
MENA: Egypt, Jordan, Palestine
Executive Director Media Freedom, WAN-IFRA