IPI issued the "Vienna Declaration on Public Broadcasting" in 1993 and the "Warsaw Declaration on News Agencies" in 1996
The Vienna Declaration on Public Broadcasting
The International Press Institute, at its European Media Symposium "From State-Controlled Broadcasting to Public Broadcasting", held in Vienna, Austria, 22-24 September 1993,
Declares its unconditional support for the development of editorially independent public service broadcasting to replace the state-controlled broadcasting structures, which continue to exist in Eastern Europe and therefore,
Recalling the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 19, which states that "everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression , this right includes freedom of opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media, and regardless of frontiers";
Recalling the General Conference of UNESCO in 1989 with its main focus on the promotion of the "free flow of ideas by word and image at the international, as well as national levels";
Recalling UNESCO's seminars in Windhoek, Namibia, in 1991 and in Alma Ata, Kazakhstan, in 1992, and acknowledging their importance as milestones in the struggle for free, independent and pluralistic print and broadcast media in all regions of the world,
- Demands legal and statutory measures which support the right of journalists and program producers in broadcasting organizations to exercise their profession safely and without interference.
- Calls for the complete and immediate extension of the freedom of the press to include the freedom of broadcasting. This freedom of the media is to guarantee public broadcasters their independence in the exercise of the tasks conferred upon them. To avoid pressure by the government of the day or other public or private bodies, this principle should be enshrined in national constitutions, broadcasting statutes as well as the statutes of international organizations.
- Calls for constitutional and statutory measures to remove the governing and managing bodies of public broadcasters from everyday politics. Leading positions in the media should be open to men and women of achievement, regardless of their political affiliations. Only such openness can create an environment of diversity and high quality.
- Proposes that a primary mission of public broadcasting should be to inform people of the issues – past, present and future – that are of direct concern to them. Public broadcasting should also serve as a medium for the expression and debate of basic values.
- Calls on managements and staff representations to commit broadcasting journalists to editorial objectivity. The highest aim must be free and fair information for the public. All aspects of an issue are to be presented with journalistic integrity, in a balanced manner and within an appropriate period of time.
- Proposes the introduction of guidelines for journalistic practices in the public broadcasting media. These guidelines are to be developed by the journalists themselves, without interference from governments, political parties or other interest groups.
- Demands legal measures to assure diversified funding, including – but not limited to – viewers' and listeners' fees, other forms of public funding as well as advertising to an extent which reflects an increasingly competitive environment.
- Demands that state and public bodies allow the independent media, including public-service broadcasters, the same free access to all information, material and facilities as the official media.
- Demands that public broadcasters and independent media be assisted in the upgrading of the production, content and presentation of television news and current affairs programmes through the provision of new technology and the exposure of staff to modern production techniques.
- Proposes the abolition of monopolies and, while not questioning the privileged position of public broadcasters in the exercise of their tasks, of all forms of discrimination in broadcasting and frequency allocation, as well as the abolition of all barriers to the launching of new private media outlets.
In conclusion, IPI believes that public broadcasting should be a true reflection of the constitution, the principles and the attitudes of a free and democratic state.
The Warsaw Declaration on News Agencies
Freedom of speech and of the press are fundamental human rights. They include and require the free flow of information. Most of the information which the public receives every day, comes from news media. Much of this is gathered and distributed by news agencies.
Each State should provide appropriate conditions for unfettered exchange of news. That is why we, the representatives of news agencies, and of professional organisations, present at the IPI Round Table on "News Agencies in Transition", held in Warsaw, Poland, August 29-31, 1996, make the following declaration:
- Everyone has the right to free access to information needed to exercise their rights and duties as citizens. No laws or regulations should limit this right.
- News agencies must have the right to gather and distribute information freely. No censorship, direct or indirect, is acceptable; no government authorities at any level, nor economic and other interest groups should interfere with the content of news reports or restrict access to any news source.
- A free flow of information between news agencies and other media institutions is essential for them to inform the public. Therefore, they must be allowed to act without fear of reprisal, to exchange news with other news agencies and to distribute it to news media, other institutions and subscribers without censorship or any other restraint.
- All news agencies, regardless of their form of ownership, operating in the same country, should have an equal right to gather, receive and distribute information and to possess facilities and equipment necessary for their operations.
- No State should restrict the information-gathering and distributing activities of a foreign news agency of its correspondents. They must enjoy timely and free access to news sources, locations and events.
- State-owned news agencies must be granted full journalistic independence. Any guidelines for journalistic practices should be developed by the journalists themselves and applied only by the news media organisation, without interference from governments, political parties or other interest groups.
- Neither government representatives nor any state authority should be allowed to impose any kind of official judgement on the journalistic performance of a news agency.
- No news agency or its journalists should be favoured or discriminated against because of what they write or say. The must not be penalised for what they report.
- News agency journalists should have free access to information from official and other news sources and a right to resist information forced upon them.
- Authorities should not introduce any legal, technical or tariff constraints which may limit the news agencies' free flow of information and distribution of news. News agencies should have the right to import or export all necessary professional materials and equipment, enabling them to gather and send information. Journalists should be able to obtain visas and accreditation in a timely fashion without any administrative harassment or restrictions.
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