Collaboration and solidarity in action are vital if we are to overcome the many challenges ahead – journalists continue to be targeted simply for doing their jobs, editorial independence and quality journalism are regularly undermined, and media businesses are facing unprecedented challenges due to a dire global economic situation. These are worrying times for press freedom and anyone who shares a passionate belief in the right to freedom of expression. Yet through it all, we witnessed the positive impact news media has on our society and the stunning acceleration of the industry’s transformation during those challenging times, best represented in our annual report.
More than ever, in 2021, WAN-IFRA’s agenda reflected the branch focus on managing the accelerated transformation of its journalistic, technical and business models. Our programmes stimulated deeper thinking on the evolution of good journalistic practices and quality standards for news professionals to better engage with their audiences and effectively contribute to the public debate in open societies.
2021 has been a year of contrasting fortunes for press freedom. Despite the hardships accelerated by COVID, journalists across the globe have continued to report the important stories, holding governments and those in power to account. We all acknowledge the tremendous work of these individuals in continuing to bring us the news on top of navigating the difficulties of the ongoing pandemic.
WAN-IFRA also welcomes the efforts of multiple stakeholders in bringing the conversation around the future of news and the viability of independent media to the highest levels. We see solutions being proposed across the board, and while the future is by no means secured, we have greater reason for hope this year than last.
Continuing the positive vein, four new regional Media Freedom Committees and increased support to safety, editorial skills development, and the production of quality news in over 40 newsrooms in Africa and Asia has further strengthened WAN-IFRA’s position as a leading ally to the industry. Our Media Freedom work continues to grow and is proving more vital than ever in these challenging times.
Our concern for the future of Hong Kong, the consequences of the military coup in Myanmar, the shocking takeover by the Taliban in Afghanistan – all of these events, and more, have focused our attention this year on the fragility of a free press, and what disastrous consequences there are when it is no longer able to function.
We thank those of you from our membership who stepped up to support colleagues through our Afghan Journalist Appeal. Solidarity in times of need is something our industry recognises more than most. And I congratulate our Golden Pen laureates Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov, who were awarded this year’s Nobel Peace Prize – the ultimate confirmation of something we have all known for so long: the importance of quality journalism. But, at the same time, their prize is a stark reminder that journalists continue to be threatened for doing this essential work. Over 20 journalists have been confirmed killed because of their work this year. Nearly 300 remain in jail. We still have a long way to go before the world’s press can be said to be truly free…
In 2022, WAN-IFRA’s plan will reflect the branch focus on managing the accelerated transformation of its journalistic, technical and business models. Our programmes will stimulate deeper thinking on the evolution of good journalistic practices and quality standards for news professionals to better engage with their audiences and effectively contribute to the public debate in an open society.
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This year’s new corporate members include:
1plusX AG (Switzerland), Aga Khan University Media Innovation Centre (Kenya), L’Agefi (France), Agora SA Gazeta Wyborcza (Poland), Alayyan Group (Jordan), bressciaoggi (Italy), CRUX Knowledge (United Kingdom), Czech News Center (Czech Republic), DanAds International (Sweden), Diari de Tarragona (Spain), Digitalhaus Franken /Fränkisher Tag (Germany), Economia (Czech Republic), Egyptian Streets (Egypt), EURACTIV Media Network (Belgium), Fiare (Finland), Foreca (Finland), FotoWare (Norway), Fuldaer Zeitung (Germany), Funke Mediengruppe (Germany), Gruppo Athesis S.p.A. (Italy), Il Giornale du Vicenza (Italy), Kapero Consulting (Sweden), L’Arena (Italy), L’Orient-Le Jour (Lebanon), Mediapart (France), Mensagem de Lisboa (Portugal), NDC Mediagroep (Netherlands), Nederlands Dagblad (Netherlands), Neue Westfälische (Germany), Newsback (France), L’Opinion (France), Noticias MVS (Mexico), NWT Media (Sweden) Ostfriesland ZGO (Germany), Piano Software (USA), Reach PLC (United Kingdom), Scope Content (Switzerland), Smartico (Bulgaria), Schwäbisches Tagblatt (Germany), SunStar Publishing (The Philippines), Telangana Publications Pvt. Ltd (India), The Conversation (UK), The Trust Project (USA), Tipser (Sweden), TyC Sports (Argentina), United Jordan Press (Jordan), Università IULM (Italy), UpScore (Germany), Verlag Parzeller (Germany), La Voz de Almeria (Spain), WordProof (Netherlands), Zephr (United Kingdom).