Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Press Freedom: Then and Now

published by  Georgetown University

Gwen Lister, founder of the newspaper The Namibian, threw down the gauntlet in the opening session of Monday’s WPFD events when she said, “Press freedom is non-negotiable.”

At a panel called “Press Freedom: How Far Have We Come and Where Are We Going?” Lister was joined by Rosental C. Alves, Karin Karlekar, Frank LaRue and Eric Newton.

Each journalist addressed challenges specific to his or her experience during the talk. The following represents a sampling of the most interesting comments the speakers shared during the discussion.

Karin Karlekar, senior researcher and managing editor, Freedom House

“Only 15 percent or one in six people live in countries with a free press.”
“Impact of the Internet in digital media gives us cause for hope.”

Rosental C. Alves, founder and director, Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas:

“The enemy of the press in Mexico was government, now it’s organized crime.”

Gwen Lister, founder, The Namibian:

“Marginalized people must have access to the media and make their voices heard.”

“Computer access remains elusive to many on the African continent.”
Frank LaRue, Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Opinion and Expression with the United Nations, Guatemala:

“Access to the Internet is the biggest challenge.”

“Everyone should have access to a diversity of ideas and be able to draw their own conclusions.”

“We cannot allow new forms of censorship on the Internet.”

Eric Newton, senior adviser to the president, Knight Foundation:

Of the Freedom House Press Freedom Map, it reflects, “The mess of humanity at its messiest.”

“If the pen is mightier than the sword, just think of what a cell phone can do.”

- Georgetown University Press Team

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