WPFD2019: SEAPA to hold forum on World Press Freedom Day in Addis Ababa

The Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA) is joining the World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) celebration in Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia.

SEAPA will hold a panel discussion, one of the special sessions featured in the annual event, which is now on its 26th year.

The theme of the SEAPA forum, to be held on May 3, is “Toward Constructive Dialogue and Shared Narratives: Exploring Media’s Role in Conflict-Prone Societies”, and will tackle the following question:

Against the backdrop of today’s information disorder that foments conflict, how can the media encourage more meaningful public conversations and bring about collective narratives that will help unite people, their differences, notwithstanding, and heal divisions in society?

Making up the panel of resources persons are the following:

Julie Alipala, reporter, Philippine Daily Inquirer (Philippines),covering the southern Mindanao region;

Gayathry Venkiteswaran, former executive director of SEAPA and currently Assistant Professor, Languages and Cultures, at the University of Nottingham Malaysia;

Adi Renaldi, staff writer at VICE Indonesia, where he focuses on terrorism, environment, socio-political issues, and culture;

Maung Saung Kha, founder of Athan (Myanmar), a free expression advocacy group of young journalists and writers based in Yangon;

Shubhranshu Choudhary, founder of CGnet Swara (Voice of Chhattisgarh), a voice-based portal, freely accessible via mobile phone, that allows people in Chhattisgarh, central India to report and listen to stories of local interest; and

Bruh Yihunbelay Mengistu, managing editor of The Reporter newspaper, which is based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

SEAPA executive director Tess Bacalla will moderate the panel discussion.

Held on May 3 of each year, the WPFD event, now on its 26th year, “celebrates the fundamental principles of press freedom, to evaluate press freedom around the world, to defend the media from attacks on their independence and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession,” says UNESCO, which is organizing the event, in a statement.

This year’s theme of the WPFD is “Media for Democracy: Journalism and Elections in Times of Disinformation.”

“3 May acts as a reminder to governments of the need to respect their commitment to press freedom and is also a day of reflection among media professionals about issues of press freedom and professional ethics,” says UNESCO.

“Just as importantly, World Press Freedom Day is a day of support for media which are targets for the restraint, or abolition, of press freedom. It is also a day of remembrance for those journalists who lost their lives in the pursuit of a story.”

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