World Newspaper Congress in Kyiv

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Sept. 7, 2012, 11:02 a.m. |
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Many panel discussions took place about trends in the newspaper industry. The audience included more than 25 Ukrainian journalists whose costs were covered by sponsors. The goal was to expose Ukrainian journalists to "international best practices, provide training opportunities and offer moral support."
© Kostyantyn Chernichkin

 Nearly 1,000 of the world's leading news publishers, CEOs, journalists and others gathered in Kyiv from Sept. 2-5 for the 64th World Newspaper Congress and the 19th World Editors Forum.

Lack of freedom of speech in Ukraine weighed on the minds of the organizers, who met with Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych over lunch on Sept. 4. Following it, the organization issued this press release urging the Ukarinian leader to improve conditions for independent media to thrive.

Here is the press release:

A group of leading publishers and editors from around the world met with Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych on Sept. 4 and expressed concerns about the state of press freedom in the country and the urgent need for conditions that promote a strong, independent media.

Fourteen leading publishers and editors engaged in a frank discussion with the president over lunch during the World Newspaper Congress and World Editors Forum, organised by the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA).

Jacob Mathew, president of WAN-IFRA and Erik Bjerager, president of the World Editors Forum, presented the president with a report and recommendations that emerged from an international press freedom mission to Ukraine in April 2012. The report can be found at

In the lunch meeting at the National Hotel, Bjerager said a free press was a necessary component for sustainable economic, social and cultural development. “By encouraging criticism and dissent, you develop freedom, liberalization and a prosperous society,” he told the president.

The delegation addressed a number of issues and asked the president to ensure that those who engaged in peaceful protest during his speech at the Congress opening ceremony would not be harassed or prosecuted.

It also called for the president to address the issues that were inhibiting the development of independent media, including an environment of corruption, lack of a viable market and issues in broadcast media that include lack of transparency in digital licensing and judicial processes.

The call followed a resolution issued Sunday from the WAN-IFRA Board that called for similar measures ( ).

In addition to Mathew and Bjerager, WAN-IFRA and WEF members of the delegation included: Eugene Abov, deputy CEO, Izdatelstvo Rossiyskaya Gazeta, Russia; Boris Lozhkin, president, UMH Group, Ukraine; Tomas Brunegard, CEO and president, Stampen AB, Sweden; Jayme Sirotsky, president Emeritus, RBS-Brazil Zero Hora Editora Jornalistica; Seok Hyun Hong, chairman & CEO, JoongAng Media Network, Korea; Vladimir Sungorkin; editor-in-chief, general director Komsomolskaya Pravda, Russia; Mikael Pentikäinen, senior editor-in-chief, Sanoma News Oy, Finland; Pichai Chuensuksawadi, editor-in-chief, The Post Publishing Company, Thailand; Trevor Ncube, chief executive, Mail and Guardian, South Africa; Valdo Lehari Jr, CEO and publisher, Reutlinger General-Anzeiger Verlag, Germany; and Ivar Rusdal, CEO, Jæren Avis AS, Norway.

The Congress and Editors Forum, the global summit meetings of the world’s press, drew more than 1,000 publishers, chief editors, CEOs and other senior newspaper executives from 88 countries to Kyiv. The event, which continue through Wednesday, can be followed at or on Twitter with #wnc12 and #wef12

WAN-IFRA, based in Paris, France, and Darmstadt, Germany, with subsidiaries in Singapore, India, Spain, France and Sweden, is the global organisation of the world’s newspapers and news publishers. It represents more than 18,000 publications, 15,000 online sites and over 3,000 companies in more than 120 countries. Its core mission is to defend and promote press freedom, quality journalism and editorial integrity and the development of prosperous businesses.

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