12 April 2007
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Press Under Surveillance: WAN launches its 3 May Campaign

Major terrorist attacks and threats against countries world-wide have led to the widespread tightening of security and surveillance measures which all too often are also used to stifle debate, individual liberties and freedom of the press, according to the World Association of Newspapers.

Media around the globe will highlight the dangers of these measures for their audiences on World Press Freedom Day, 3 May.  The World Association of Newspapers is once again offering a package of interviews, articles, essays, infographics and advertisements to publish on 3 May to commemorate the importance of a free press and the necessity of protecting it against attacks, even in democracies.

The materials, on the theme "Press Under Surveillance," can be downloaded, free of charge, at http://www.worldpressfreedomday.org.

The package of materials examines anti-terrorism and official secrets laws, criminalisation of speech judged to justify terrorism, criminal prosecution of journalists for disclosing classified information, surveillance of communications without judicial authorisation, and restrictions on access to government data.

"All of these measures can severely erode the capacity of journalists to investigate and report accurately and critically, and thus the ability of the press to inform," said Timothy Balding, CEO of WAN, the global organisation of the world's press.

"Balancing the sometimes conflicting interests of security and freedom might indeed be difficult, but democracies have an absolute responsibility to use a rigorous set of standards to judge whether curbs on freedom can be justified by security concerns," he said. "This is the clear message we need to impress on governments and their agencies on World Press Freedom Day."
Contributors to the articles, essays, interviews and editorials being offered for publication include Bill Keller, Executive Editor of The New York Times, Dinah PoKempner, General Counsel of Human Rights Watch, Agnes Callamard, Executive Director of Article 19,  David Banisar of Privacy International, Andrei Richter, Director of the Moscow Media Law and Policy Institute, Chinese Journalist Gao Yu, Seamus Dooley of the London-based National Union of Journalists, and Raymond Louw of the South African National Editors Forum.

In addition, the package, which is available in English, French, Spanish, German and Russian, includes:

- Compelling public service advertisements, produced by major advertising agencies world-wide, on the theme, "press under surveillance."

- Materials for engaging younger readers, with information about Chinese journalist Shi Tao, the WAN Golden Pen of Freedom laureate who has been jailed since November 2004 for distributing information about Chinese press restrictions. The materials include a postcard to be sent to Chinese authorities protesting against the jailing.

- Infographics on the number of journalists killed and jailed, and editorial cartoons on press freedom themes.

- A video spot for broadcast or for web sites will be available shortly.

Full materials at http://www.worldpressfreedomday.org

The Paris-based WAN, the global organisation for the newspaper industry, defends and promotes press freedom world-wide. It represents 18,000 newspapers; its membership includes 76 national newspaper associations, newspaper companies and individual newspaper executives in 102 countries, 12 news agencies and 10 regional and world-wide press groups.
Inquiries to: Larry Kilman, Director of Communications, WAN, 7 rue Geoffroy
St Hilaire, 75005 Paris France. Tel: +33 1 47 42 85 00. Fax: +33 1 47 42 49 48. Mobile: +33 6 10 28 97 36. E-mail: lkilman@wan.asso.fr