Providing free, independent access to news and information is integral to cohesive societies, to building democracy and to creating prosperity. Yet media organisations and their staff are being subjected to ever greater numbers of attacks, often verbal, increasingly often more pernicious.

It’s for this reason that the Association for International Broadcasting is leading a collaborative campaign among its Members to raise awareness of the need for and importance of media freedom throughout 2019 and beyond.

There are five principal outward facing aims of the AIB’s work in media freedom:

  • Influencing governments to adopt and endorse media freedom;
  • Influencing governments to put in place robust mechanisms to protect media freedoms;
  • Influencing opinion leaders to promote media freedom;
  • Influencing fellow broadcasters to join the global initiative;
  • Influencing public opinion in territories worldwide through collaborative creative on-air campaigns.

To carry out this work, the Association has formed a Steering Group to drive the initiative. We are building a global database of infringements of media freedom and we are developing a series of on-air campaigns about media freedom.

We are also supporting the work of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office [FCO] that has chosen media freedom as its major campaign of 2019. On 10-11 July 2019, the FCO organised the Global Conference, co-hosted by the Canadian government, bringing together foreign ministers of many countries to discuss issues around media freedom. The Association for International Broadcasting has worked extensively with the FCO in developing this important event that will focus the world’s attention on media freedom. In 2020, Canada will host the second Global Conference. The AIB is engaged with Global Affairs Canada on plans for this landmark continuation of the media freedom initiative.

Our annual awards for factual productions, the AIBs, contribute to this important work on the vital issue of media freedom by showcasing the work of journalists and investigative teams across the world – often work that holds power to account. The work that is submitted to our international judges each year represents the very best of balanced, impartial journalism that is an essential strand of media freedom globally.

For more information about the Association for International Broadcasting’s work on media freedom, contact the Secretariat. To enrol as a Member of the AIB Media Freedom Steering Group, use the form below.

See the AIB’s Journalists at Risk page for information on threats to journalists, and advice on how to stay safe.

Media freedom is inextricably linked with economic growth and the development of a rules-based democracy

Simon Spanswick

Chief Executive, AIB | Association for International Broadcasting

On World Press Freedom Day 2019, the BBC released a video highlighting the continuing aggressive campaign that is being waged against the staff of BBC Persian and their families, both in the UK and in Iran.

AIB Members can nominate representatives to then Media Freedom Steering Group using this form: