Thursday, 27 May 2010

Spanish Deputy Prime Minister Tells IFJ Leaders that Future of Journalism Vital for Democracy

Decisions to be taken about the future of media and journalism will have an impact on the future of democracy, warned the Spanish Deputy Prime Minister, Teresa Fernandez de la Vega, who told the world's largest group of journalists leaders meeting for the World Congress of the International Federation of Journalist (IFJ) in Cadiz, Spain that.

"Whatever the future brings, the press will remain the pillar of democracy," she told the IFJ conference on the future of journalism. "We are nearer to having an informed citizenry than never before thanks to media."

In her remarks, Sra. De la Vega paid tribute to journalists who provide invaluable journalism as a public good often under difficult and dangerous conditions. Referring to the bicentenary celebration of the 1812 constitution declared in Cadiz, she said the Spanish public and media have enjoyed the benefits of a constitution which enshrined the "freedom to publish information without its being reviewed and censored".

The future of journalism, she noted, depends on the ability of media to ensure quality journalism that provides for circulation of credible information by processing and breaking down huge amounts of information available in the current fast moving world. She urged journalists to take advantage of the advance in technology and to welcome changes in media but she said governments must also protect media professionals by providing decent conditions for journalism across the media.

"We live in uncertain times and this calls for a media industry which is stable, credible and democratic," she said.

Other speakers included the IFJ President, Jim Boumelha, the President of the Press Association of Cadiz Fernando Santiago and the Regional Minister of the Andalucia region, Luis Pizarro.

The IFJ President Jim Boumelha said that delegates from 100 countries are attending the Congress in Cadiz to show solidarity with Spanish colleagues who are marking 200 years of the declaration of the first Spanish press law but also to chart the future of the profession in the world.

"We meet to ponder the future of journalism at a time where media barons are plotting the next fix to roll in more profits at the expense of journalism." He said journalists must not forget the mission of journalism and the right of people to freedom of expression provided for in Article 19 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

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