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Global Conference to address Fundamental Media Freedom Concerns

More than 100 international and Danish media professionals and experts will gather in Copenhagen April 29-30 for a conference to examine the global environment for media freedom and the importance of a free press in the development of society.

Hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark in partnership with the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA), the Global Media Freedom Conference 2015 will welcome two days of discussion and debate addressing key questions regarding the future of independent news media.

The Global Media Freedom Conference will ask pertinent questions as to what can be done to better protect independent journalism and the individuals most at risk. It will examine ways of securing a future for news in the face of technological, commercial and security challenges and, in the global age, how media professionals can continue to inspire citizens through media that is both engaging and relevant to their lives.

“A free and critical press contributes not only to maintaining a public debate in society - it is a prerequisite for that debate,” said Mogens Jensen, Danish Minister of Trade and Development. “The media's critical eyes on those in power are important for change and development in any society.”

“In many developing countries and fragile states, large parts of the population are completely excluded from the public debate. It is our duty to help strengthen voices that have a crucial role in shaping the future. It is my hope that this conference will point out new ways of defending and protecting the working conditions of journalists and media by giving editors and journalists a global forum for sharing their experiences,” the Minister said.

The event will focus on the critical perspective of media in the development of democratic societies, its role in promoting accountable governance, and its capacity to foster political cohesion.

"The participants and the presenters have been invited because of their dedication to, and their often courageous defence of, the values of a free press to society, and its contribution to economic, political and social development," said Larry Kilman, Secretary General of WAN-IFRA. "We hope this gathering will provide them with inspiration, and will enhance their ability to promote these values when they return home. We are delighted that the Ministry recognizes the importance of this mission, and is working together with the global newspaper and news media community to organize this event."

The Global Media Freedom Conference 2015 will provide an opportunity to highlight pressing advocacy concerns for media worldwide, with panel guests and invited participants providing insight into some of the most challenging beats for today’s journalism.

Keynote speakers include Eric Chinje, Chief Executive Officer of the African Media Initiative, and Shirazuddin Siddiqi, BBC Media Action Country Director for Afghanistan. The event will begin in the evening of Wednesday April 29, followed by a full day of discussions on Thursday April 30.

Confirmed speakers include Jodie Ginsberg (UK), chief executive of freedom of expression campaign organisation Index On Censorship, journalist and safety expert Javier Garza (Mexico), film-maker Safa Al Ahmad (Saudi Arabia), Soe Myint (Myanmar/Burma), founder and editor-in-chief of Mizzima Media, Gordana Igric (Serbia), founder and regional network director of the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, and Sulemana Braimah (Ghana), director of the Media Foundation for West Africa, among others.