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International Media Heavy Weights Meet Over Press Freedom

  • January 8th, 2008
  • Posted by Sian Graham

jan-hoek.jpgThe heads of five of the world’s largest international broadcasters (BBC World Service, Deutsche Welle, Radio France Internationale, Radio Netherlands Worldwide and the Voice Of America) have called upon all governments to honour press freedom.

At their annual meeting yesterday (7.1.08) in Hilversum, Netherlands, the directors issued a joint press release condemning governments who have failed to uphold the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights to “end any and all practices that hamper the rights of people everywhere to receive and impart information.”

The group acknowledged that while they may provide different services to the public they shared a common concern when it came to the “grave and rising threats to the right to gather information and communicate it across national borders.”

Voice of America noted that according to several press monitoring organisations, press freedom has been on the decline in many countries in recent years.

And Paris-based Reporters Without Borders has tracked an increase in the number of journalists killed at work each year since 2002.

Jan Hoek, Director-General of Radio Netherlands Worldwide, (picture), the current chairman of the five broadcasters said it was time for international media to stand together in solidarity on the issue.

“In a progressively polarised environment where the media in many countries are encountering fierce curbs on their freedom to publish, we need to stand together to meet the needs of those millions of audiences worldwide who have come to depend on us as a vital source of trustworthy information,” he said.

The broadcasters called upon governments around the world to end practices that impede the rights of people to “receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” [UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights]

Topping a list of grievances were attempts to ban local rebroadcasts of radio and television programs through government intervention in the licensing and regulatory process.

As well as countries deliberately interfering with broadcast signals or attempting to block or censor Internet content.


Voice of America, “Joint Statement on Rising Threats to Media Freedom”, 7.1.08. (8.1.08).

Media Newsline, “Broadcasters condemn rising threats to media”, 7.1.08. (8.1.08).