Globally, threats to journalists are the highest they have been in ten years and according to Freedom House, a mere 13% of the global population have access to a free press. As highlighted in a recent House of Lords Library Briefing, UNESCO says every day serves as a reminder that "in dozens of countries around the world, publications are censored, fined, suspended and closed down, while journalists, editors and publishers are harassed, attacked, detained and even murdered".
The UK Foreign Secretary, Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP launched in late 2018 the FCO’s international campaign to promote media freedom and has announced that on 10 and 11 July, he will co-host with his Canadian counterpart, Chrystia Freeland PC MP, the world’s first Global Conference on Media Freedom. The FCO’s campaign provides an opportunity to evaluate domestic and international developments, and bring some vision to how to defend media freedom and end impunity for those who commit crimes against journalists.
Complementary to FCO efforts, the UK Parliament will host an International Parliamentary Seminar on Media Freedom and the Protection of Journalists under the auspices of the British Group of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (BGIPU). The Chair of the British Group of the IPU, Rt Hon John Whittingdale MP, has invited members of parliament from across the world to take part in this event at the Palace of Westminster in London from Monday 9th September to Wednesday 11th September 2019.
The purpose of the International Parliamentary Seminar on Media Freedom is to bring together parliamentarians from a wide array of countries to collaborate with other key stakeholders and explore the parliamentary dimension of media protection. It will allow for follow-up to the key outcomes from the FCO conference in July and provide an opportunity to discuss parliament-driven solutions to issues affecting journalists and the media industry.