|Home||Events||Public Statements||World Press Freedom Review||Newsletter & Publications||About IPI||Link Terminal||Contact Us|
IPI Public Statements
Resolutions passed by the 47th IPI General Assembly
25 May 1998
IPI CALLS FOR THE RELEASE OF RUSSIAN JOURNALIST
Members of the International Press Institute (IPI), convening in Moscow for the IPI World Congress and 47th General Assembly, called upon the Russian government to immediately release jailed writer and naval Captain, Grigory Pasko.
Pasko has been imprisoned since November 1997 in Veadirostocu on charges of espionage.
These charges are based upon his publication of a series of articles in the Russian and Japanese press over a 3 year period. These articles described the problem of nuclear waste caused by the deterioration of the condition of the of the Russian nuclear submarine fleet in the Far East, and other radioactive nuclear waste disposal problems that have created a major environmental danger. But his indictment has been classified secret, and he subsequently cannot defend himself properly.
The authorities admit that none of the facts he published revealed state secrets or endangered national security. Nevertheless, Pasko’s lawyers say, the authorities argue that the net effects of his publications resulted in revealing a pattern whose exposure constitutes a challenge to Russian state security. In other words, Captain Pasko did what any good journalist should do in bringing out a threat to the public interest.
If they have a case that can be produced in open court, the authorities should try Captain Pasko. Otherwise they should release him forthwith.
Furthermore, we encourage the world’s press to look into and report on this case, which has received minimal international attention to date.
RESOLUTION ON CROATIA
The members of the International Press Institute (IPI), comprising 2000 journalists, editors and publishers from more than 100 countries, strongly denounced the attrition campaign being waged by the government of Croatia against the independent media.
Meeting in Moscow for the IPI’s 47th annual General Assembly, the delegates noted that there are currently more than 400 civil cases pending against the handful of independent press outlets and 130 criminal defamation suits, most of which have been brought by President Tudjman, member of his family and his political entourage.
Among the publications that the government has targeted are Feral Tribune, Novi List, Globus and Nacional.
The Annual General Assembly of the IPI called upon President Tudjman and his government to halt their systematic harassment of the independent media, in the interests of press freedom, free speech and the good name of Croatia, if it is to be considered worthy of membership in Europe’s democratic institutions.
IPI APPEAL ON FREQUENCY ALLOCATION REGULATION IN YUGOSLAVIA
Recognising the importance of the free flow of social, political and economic information to the stability of any democracy, we the undersigned organisations call upon the government of Yugoslavia to address the issue of broadcast licensing in an open and equitable manner and to:
Rescind recent decisions announced by the Yugoslav Ministry of Telecommunications setting exorbitant fees for the temporary use of radio and television frequencies.
Establish clearly stated criteria for obtaining use of such frequencies, to be applied evenly without regard of editorial content.
Determine fees, if any based on standards already recognised as fair and reasonable by the broad European community.
Respect the fundamental principles protecting freedom of the press enshrined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to which Yugoslavia is a signatory.
RESOLUTION ON THE FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION
Dozens of countries within the World Trade Organisation (WTO) curtail the flow of information channelled through foreign news agencies, editors said at the International Press Institute General Assembly in Moscow, Russia.
Within the framework of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the international community of governments has not only agreed to liberalise trade of goods but also services, including telecommunications services as well as computer/databases services; however, only 14 of the 132 members of the WTO have committed themselves to liberalisation in the news agency sector.
IPI therefore appeals in particular to the governments of mature democracies and advanced societies to fully accept the principles of the free flow of information and to underwrite the commitments of the WTO, Sector 10, Subsector New Agency Services (CPC 962).
We furthermore appeal to the WTO authorities to promote during the upcoming millennium round of WTO negotiations the full commitment to the free flow of information by as many members as possible.
RESOLUTION ON THE 50th ANNIVERSARY OF THE DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS
On the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights, the International Press Institute hailed its Article 19 stating "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers."
News executives from around the world, meeting at the International Press Institute General Assembly in Moscow, said it is time not only to reaffirm Article 19 as the foundation for the enjoyment of the other basic human rights, but also for its full implementation, wherever authorities prevent it from being honoured.
Article 19 is indeed everyone's right--regardless of culture, creed, or condition.
They praised the foresight with which it was written. By calling for freedom of expression "through any media and regardless of frontiers," they said, "Article 19 clearly applies today to such new information media as Internet news services and exchanges, direct satellite broadcasting and other recently developed technologies."
Any attempts to weaken this fundamental human right contained in Article 19 should and must be resisted.
We representatives of the world's free and independent press, meeting in this 47th IPI General Assembly in Moscow in May 1998, rededicate ourselves to defending and extending across the globe the principles set forth in Article 19 as the mark of press freedom in the world and the embodiment of everybody's right to speak out freely everywhere. IPI called upon all governmental bodies to join it in the determination to fulfil the promise of the Universal Declaration of Human rights, as contained in its Article 19.
RESOLUTION ON CRIMINAL DEFAMATION
Laws that make libel, slander and defamation criminal offences, providing for prison terms, press bans and seizures, are a clear attempt to throttle free expression, the General Assembly of the International Press Institute warned in Moscow. In a democratic society, defamation should be a civil law offence.
Remedies should be freely determined publication of apologies or corrections, and payments for demonstrable damages. Representatives of 2000 news executives from around the globe, said it is not acceptable to jail or silence those who speak out, just because governments consider themselves offended.
Liberty to report, analyze, criticize and contest is the very basis of public life in a free society.
The 47th General Assembly urged all states that criminalize free expression of ideas to revise their laws and practices. Citizens should be reasonably protected against defamation while fundamental freedoms are preserved.
RESOLUTION ON PIUS NJAWE
The jailing of Cameroon editor Pius Njawe is a flagrant breach of free speech principles adopted by the United Nations and the Organisation of African Unity, and he should be freed at once, editors from around the world said in Moscow.
Njawe, editor of Le Messager, was jailed for two years for a story asking if the country’s president was ill. The term was halved on appeal but he remains in jail.
The 47th General Assembly of the International Press Institute said Njawe is a symbol of the many editors, journalists and photographers jailed under laws limiting basic rights of free expression.
Delegates said their anger must be communicated to leaders of the United Nations, the commonwealth, and the Association of Francophone States, with a plea for urgent action.
RESOLUTION ON THE ASSASSINATION OF JOURNALISTS
The number of journalists assassinated for doing their jobs is increasing at an alarming rate in 1998. So far, more than a dozen reporters and editors have been killed in Brazil, Russia, Kenya, Colombia, Nigeria, The Philippines, Peru and Sierra Leone.
Concerned over the prospect that even more journalists will be targeted for death in the coming months, the annual assembly of the International Press Institute urged worldwide condemnation of the rising toll.
Moreover, the organisation comprising more than 2000 editors and publishers, said there was an urgent need for all newspapers and networks to the murders in their countries in major news stories that are prominently and dramatically displayed in the press and on the air.
Journalists are murdered to curb the flow of embarrassing information. It is crucial for the media to publicise the assassinations so that the perpetrators will quickly find they are getting more rather than less public attention.
Media organisations should also launch investigations of the murders on their own and insist that authorities in those countries undertake intensive inquiries to help find the murderers. Too often, in too many countries, the assassins go unpunished.
REPORTSRead Global Overviews
IPI provides links to other Internet sites only for the convenience of its visitors. IPI is not responsible for the availability or content of these external sites, nor does IPI endorse, guarantee or warrant the information, services or products available at these sites.