IN MID-SEPTEMBER, Bratislava and Vienna will jointly host one of the biggest events in the media world – the International Press Institute’s (IPI) world congress, which annually gathers media professionals from all over the globe in one place to discuss trends in media production, media freedom and other issues, both joyful and troubling, which concern professionals working in the media sector.
The IPI will hold its annual world congress in Vienna and Bratislava from September 11 to 14 this year, the organisation officially announced at the beginning of March, when it also revealed details of speakers and programmes for the event.
The 2010 IPI World Congress will mark the 60th anniversary of the founding of the IPI, and the organisation will celebrate 60 years of defending press freedom in a series of events culminating in the congress in the ‘twin cities’ of Vienna and Bratislava.
Under the overall theme, “Thinking the Unthinkable: Are We Losing the News? (Media Freedom in the New Media Landscape)”, the three-day conference will focus attention on the state of the news media itself, providing new business models and solutions for the media, and a unique opportunity to meet and interact with major players from both traditional and new media outlets.
The congress will also look at new ways of delivering information and how new technologies are proving to be a powerful ally of freedom of opinion and expression.
At a special gala dinner and ceremony, to be held at Vienna City Hall, the IPI will honour 60 World Press Freedom Heroes to commemorate the 60 years of its existence.
The IPI's Press Freedom Heroes are individuals who have made a significant contribution to the defence and promotion of press freedom, especially – but not only – if this involved acts of resistance or bravery under conditions of hardship.
The event is expected to draw over 400 participants and their guests from around the world.
According to the IPI representative in Slovakia, Pavol Múdry, there were at least two reasons for IPI to choose to hold its biggest annual event in Bratislava this year: the interesting development of the Slovak media scene and the natural curiosity of people who work in the media who know it is better to see things for themselves than only read and hear about them.
It is also an appreciation of the work of the Slovak branch of the IPI and its members, Múdry said.
“When we announced last year during the congress in Helsinki that the 60th annual congress would take place in Bratislava and Vienna, it generated particular interest in Slovakia,” Múdry told The Slovak Spectator.
“I believe that when top media managers, editors of important world media, famous presenters and commentators from all over the world come to Slovakia, that is significant for us in itself,” Múdry said, adding that it will be a great opportunity for local media professionals to interact, discuss and compare with the world’s top media people.
Múdry said the programme is designed to not only raise interesting topics from the media world, but also to stir interest in Slovakia among the participants.
The topics to be discussed at the congress include the biggest problems the media encounter in today’s world: the impact of the economic crisis, the print media’s decreasing readership, the number of people who tend to prefer new media, and increasing pressure from politicians and also the business world on media freedom and thus also on freedom of speech, a basic human right, Múdry noted.
He pointed to the topics “What’s working where? And why?”, intended to examine how media professionals around the world are defying negative global trends through innovation and creativity, or “Media Ethics in the New Media Landscape”, a session which will deal with how the core values and practices of journalism are being affected as mainstream print and broadcast media compete with the internet and new forms of journalism.
“I am particularly happy that at Červený Kameň castle, where the Slovak part of the congress will take place on September 14, we’ll also talk about the relationship between media and extremism, and extremist politicians and tendencies,” Múdry said.
Múdry added that as a host country, Slovakia will be in the spotlight and visiting journalists will be curious about how the problems that journalists encounter in all countries of the world are handled here.
“We’ve got a chance to present Slovakia to almost all the media world, discuss with personalities from world media and exchange experiences from everywhere in the world,” Múdry said. “Let’s use it.”
10. May 2010 at 0:00 | Michaela Terenzani