In November 2018, the AIB convened a meeting of senior representatives of major national and international broadcasters to discuss ways to work together on issues around media freedom. The meeting in London was chaired by Peter Greste, who was imprisoned while reporting for Al Jazeera in Egypt, and Simon Spanswick, AIB CEO.
Broadcasters are constantly being tested and harassed by authorities that seek to restrict citizens’ access to free, fair and impartial information. Journalists are constantly being intimidated in countries across the world. At the same time, the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, signed by many of these countries, include media freedom as one of the key objectives.
There’s a clear disconnect, and broadcasters made a commitment at the November meeting to work together, share intelligence and devote resources to tackling this issue, with the Association for International Broadcasting leading the collaborative efforts between broadcasters.
It is important that this initiative does not duplicate existing work being carried out by NGOs and others, and that’s why the AIB invited a range of key organisations to the November meeting and will be sharing the work programme and other intelligence with those organisations that are carrying out important work in media freedom internationally.
At its meeting in January, the AIB Executive Committee agreed that the Association can now start work on developing a collaborative work programme. The Secretariat is in discussion with broadcasters to establish a steering group and to decide on the mechanisms to develop this crucial initiative.
The AIB is grateful to Al Jazeera Media Network for providing support for the initiative which now moves into a wider, global arena.