In early July, London hosted the inaugural Global Conference for Media Freedom, co-hosted by the Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the UK Foreign Secretary.
The conference brought together leaders, officials, editors, publishers and journalists to debate the issues surrounding a free and independent media and the role that it plays in a vibrant and healthy democracy.
St Bride’s has strong, enduring links with journalism and fully supports the need for press freedom. It is of fundamental and vital importance to the industry and to society at local, regional, national and international levels.
Since its inception in 1990, The Tom Olsen Trust has promoted the interlinking themes of freedom and responsibility at an annual lecture held at St Bride’s.
We were honoured that Dr Courtney Radsch, Director of Advocacy of the Committee to Protect Journalists and one of the stakeholders in the Global Conference, agreed to give this year’s Tom Olsen Lecture just a few days before the conference began.
Dr Radsch entitled her speech “‘Enemies of the People – the Global Assault on Journalists and Press Freedom” and began the Lecture by describing herself in those words of President Trump, an ‘enemy of the people.’
She went on to detail that 2018 had been the deadliest year on record for journalists, with at least 99 having been killed, a further 348 imprisoned and 60 held hostage. She spoke of the crimes against journalists which gain worldwide coverage, such as the murder of Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey. However, Dr Radsch also elaborated on those that have gone unreported, a further grim example of a press that is often unable to be heard.
In a spirited closing summary, Dr Radsch reminded us that the story does not die with the journalist, and concluded that it was vital for us to fight back against the weaponization of disinformation.
A lively Q&A Session, chaired by David Selves, Deputy Chairman of the London Press Club, followed the Lecture. Guests were able to meet Dr Radsch over drinks. Grateful thanks to Kaizo, who have sponsored the Lecture for the past ten years.
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