Former presidents of Bolivia, Peru and former Mexican foreign minister to be keynote speakers
Miami (September 14, 2009)—Former President of Bolivia, Carlos Mesa, and of Peru, Alejandro Toledo, and former Mexican Foreign Minister Jorge Castañeda will address the “Emergency Forum on Freedom of Expression” which will review the major problems and current issues facing the practice of journalism in the Western Hemisphere in Venezuela this Friday, Sept. 18. Seventeen world and national press organizations are sponsoring the event.
The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) and the Venezuelan Press Bloc (BPV) are the organizers of Friday's one-day event in the Venezuelan capital, Caracas. The conference will feature panel discussions, roundtables and special presentations, with a morning focus on the state of free speech in the Americas; the afternoon will be devoted to Venezuela, with the participation of local media representatives and professors invited by the IAPA.
“Our intention is to identify and offer suggestions concerning the main barriers to freedom of expression and the press in the Americas,” explained IAPA President Enrique Santos Calderón, editor of the Bogotá, Colombia, newspaper El Tiempo. “By means of a diligent dialogue we will identify and analyze both positive and negative issues, the similarities and differences in what the press faces and how freedom of the press is practiced in our countries.”
Former Presidents Mesa and Toledo as well as Castañeda will deliver keynote speeches in the morning. Confirmed participants in the forum include media editors and publishers and journalists from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, United States and Uruguay. Special invitations have been extended to representatives of the Venezuelan government and the local Canal Telesur television channel. None has responded to date.
The organizations sponsoring the event along with the IAPA and the BPV are: International Association of Broadcasting (IAB); World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN/IFRA); International Center for Journalists (ICFJ); Committee for the Protection of Journalists (CPJ); World Press Freedom Committee (WPFC); International Federation of Journalists (FIP); International Press Institute (IPI), and national press organizations: Venezuelan Press Bloc (BPV); Association of Colombian Newspapers (ANDIARIOS); Association of Argentine Press Entities (ADEPA); Ecuadorean Association of Newspaper Publishers (AEDEP); Mexican Editors and Publishers Association (AME); National Press Association, Bolivia (ANP); National Press Association, Chile (ANP); National Association of Newspapers, Brazil (ANJ), and Peruvian Press Council (CPP).
Forum conclusions will be announced at a press conference closing the event.