EMERGE AT IFEX ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
The conference, on the theme of "Bringing Down the Walls: Open Information for the New Millenium," saw IFEX members, funders and other freedom of expression organisations from around the world gather to discuss a wide range of issues. To kick off the meeting, Sheila Coronel of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism launched SEAPA's new report on access to information (which will be highlighted in next week's "Communique"). Other topics discussed included journalistic ethics in newly democratic states; media ownership concentration; duplication, competition and overlap between free expression efforts; and emergency assistance funds. In addition, the IFEX Clearing House reported on all of the network's programme areas to conference participants.
Conference participants identified the continued need to build the capacity of IFEX member organisations as a priority, including increased communication capacity for those groups lagging behind in the use of new technologies. Participants elected the following new members to the IFEX Council: the Committee to Protect Journalists, USA; Media Watch, Bangladesh; Media Institute, Kenya; the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility, Philippines; and the Journalists Trade Union (JuHI), Azerbaijan. IFEX members also decided that the West African Journalists Association will host the next annual conference and meeting in Accra, Ghana, while the 2003 meeting will be hosted by JuHI in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Prior to the conference, many of the participants attended two days of outreach workshops on a wide range of topics including: using the Internet for press advocacy, managing organisations for greater effectiveness, joint action campaigns, assessing the effectiveness of action alerts, fund-raising, media monitoring, regional networking and lobbying for changes to media laws. The IFEX network also welcomed five new member organisations and elected TJA President Kavi Chongkittavorn as IFEX Convenor for 2001-2 [See IFEX "Communique" #10-23]. Minutes of the meeting will be available at the end of July.