To help launch the World Trends Report on Freedom of Expression and Media Development, a panel was convened to discuss the importance of tackling new threats to media freedom. Ms. Bokova opened the dialogue by highlighting the dangers in this field, relaying that every 7 days a journalist loses their life for simply doing their job. When this happens, the power of truth is dimmed, and society as a whole is darkened. Ms. Bokovaalso expressed the need to increase the role of women in media, stating that society cannot get the full story with only half of the voices.
H.E. Mr. Grunditz furthered this point by acknowledging that while more women are active in media than ever before, they are still significantly underrepresented in the industry as a whole. Women only make up one third of media employees worldwide. Even more startling, only a quarter of the people heard about or covered in the media are women. These pervasive inequalities prevent society from getting the full picture.
Professor Bollinger changed the tone of the panel, focusing on reasons for optimism conveyed by the report. Present-day advances in communication and technology now make it possible for billions of people to be aware of, and even participate in, ongoing discussions about the world’s news. Professor Bollinger proceeded to discuss the practical need for freedom of press that was never quite present before today’s day and age. As economies mature, it becomes necessary that society be more open. No economy can reach a high level unless people are free to create, think, and innovate. Furthermore, the world’s leaders need to recognize that we now have an integrated global economy, and only integrated global communications centers can support and expand it. Beyond economic incentives, the world has too many global issues and problems for us to solve without the use and worldwide implementation of free media.
Meeting Title: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization launch of the “World Trends Report on Freedom of Expression and Media Development” (co-organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Permanent Mission of Sweden)
Speakers: Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director-General; H.E. Mr. Mårten Grunditz, Permanent Representative of Sweden to the UN; Lee C. Bollinger, President of Columbia University; Joel Simon, Executive Director of The Committee to Protect Journalists; Karin Karlekar, project Director of Freedom of the Press; Veni Markovski, Vice President Global Stakeholder Engagement, ICANN; Raza Rumi, Writer and public Policy Specialist
Date: 9 July 2014
Location: Dag Hammarskjold Auditorium, United Nations HQ, New York
Written By WIT Representative: Zachary Halliday
Edited By WIT Representative: Marli Kasdan