IREX Europe Media Freedom Support Project at World Press Freedom Day

IREX Europe has been invited to host a discussion at World Press Freedom Day 2015. The discussion will centre on freedom of expression in the region and the increasingly restrictive legislation on freedom of expression in Russia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Belarus. The on-going Russia-Ukraine crisis and its impact on the region will also be discussed. Leading journalists from each country will analyse existing and new legal obstacles to freedom of expression and access to information. Panellists will also consider existing remedies such as the European Court of Human Rights applications, investigations by the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly, Human Rights Council/Committee appeals, and advocacy from international and domestic NGOs.

Freedom of expression is a fundamental principle of any democratic state. International law requires governments to protect this freedom, even when these are seen as a criticism of the government itself. This year’s World Press Freedom Day event, which will take place from May 2nd-4th in Riga, Latvia, is centred on the theme "Let Journalism Thrive! Towards Better Reporting, Gender Equality, and Safety in the Digital Age."

Moderator: David McCraw, Vice President and Assistant General Counsel, The New York Times Company


Taras Shevchenko, The Media Law Institute, Ukraine

Nadezhda Azhgikhina, Vice President of the Federation of European Journalists and International Secretary of the Russian Union of Journalists, Russia

Arzu Geybullayeva, Researcher, Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, Azerbaijan

Jauhien Valoshyn, Reporter, Euroradio, Belarus

The Media Freedom Support side event will be held on May 2nd at 11.15 at the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga, Riga, Latvia.

Every year, on May 3rd, UNESCO celebrates press freedom. It is an occasion to inform citizens of violations of press freedom, a sober reminder of the numerous countries around the world where publications continue to be censored, while journalists, editors, and publishers are harassed, attacked, detained, and even murdered.

The event is also an advocacy tool to remind governments of the need to respect their commitment to press freedom and it is a day of support for media, and media professionals worldwide. World Press Freedom day also honours those journalists who have lost their lives in pursuit of the truth.

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UNESCO and the Government of Latvia will co-host the World Press Freedom Day’s main event and the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize Ceremony in 2015 which will take place in Riga, Latvia from 2-4 May 2015.

2 May 2015:
Side-events of WPFD will take place at the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga Stockholm School of Economics in Riga
3 and 4 May 2015:
Main events including the Opening Ceremony, Plenary Sessions, Parallel Roundtable Sessions, and the Award Ceremony of the prestigious UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Day will take place at the new National Library
3 May 2014:
An evening reception will be hosted by the President of Latvia at the National Railway Museum

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