• Directory of Taiwan

Taiwan journalist wins executive seat in union federation

IFJ launches campaign to ensure future of professional journalism

Taiwan journalist wins executive seat in union federation

The International Federation of Journalists concluded its 23th Congress in the historical port of Cadiz by approving an action plan to ensure respect for quality and ethical journalism as an essential ``public good`` vital for democracy and issuing numerous resolutions calling for the protection of journalists and the defence of news freedom around the globe.

Nearly 300 delegates from over 100 countries approved a wide ranging set of recommendations to address the uncertain ``future of journalism`` through promotion of ``ethical journalism,`` defend better working conditions, protect journalists from arrest, imprisonment or even assassination with impunity during the course of the pursuit of truth.

Based on its new action program, the IFJ, which represents over 600,000 journalists in 125 countries worldwide, will ``campaign vigorously`` with governments and civil society to reinforce the realization that ``independent journalism is a public good.``

The trade union federation will also ``develop and support actions aimed to increase funding of media and journalism by supporting innovation in the private sector and more public funding under strict conditions of editorial independence`` and will lead national unions and individual journalists in ``defending the role and work of journalists.``

In addition, the action program commits the IFJ to strengthening and promoting ``editorial independence and ethical conduct in all media across all platforms``

The new program will also monitor trends in journalism and working conditions and practices, develop a ``good practice`` guide for media integration and promote multimedia training among its member unions and journalists.

Before departing Cadiz, the IFJ congress re-elected Jim Boumelha of the National Union of Journalists of Great Britain and Ireland as president and elected Mjahed Younous of the National Press Union of Morocco (Syndicat National de la Presse Marocaine - SNPM) as senior vice president.

In addition, the congress elected 16 advisors to the 21-person IFJ Executive Committee, which is the union federation`s policy making body between the triennial congresses and also includes the president, senior vice president, two vice presidents.

For the first time in the IFJ`s history, a delegate from Taiwan was elected as a full advisor and thus won a seat on the IFJ Executive Committee.

Association for Taiwan Journalists former president and advisor Michael Yu Chia-chang, who is a news editor at the Taiwan Public Broadcasting System and had previously served two terms as a ``reserve advisor,`` won the seat after a run-off election with Luis Curbelo of the Press Association of Uruguay,

Yu told The Taiwan News that he hoped that presence on the IFJ executive committee would open new doors for Taiwan journalists to participate in global affairs and also open wider the door for the global journalistic community to understand Taiwan`s situation and to facilitate a greater role in promoting freedom of the press in the greater ethnic Chinese community, including in the People`s Republic of China.

In a closing ceremony held in the Palace of Congress in Cadiz, Prince Felipe de Asturias said that the site was an ideal location for reflections on the freedom of speech and the future of journalism since the history of freedom of press in Spain began in Cadiz 200 years ago with a proclamation mandating freedom of the press and of printing issued by Spain`s first parliament.

The tall Spanish prince declared that the craft of journalism was vital to ensure that citizens would be well-informed and thus be able to wisely exercise their rigtt to vote.

``This is where professional journalism comes into to play as rigor, objectivity and professional responsibility can make all the defence to ensure access to free and independent information,`` said the Prince of Asturias.

``We need you today more than ever,`` said the prince, who also paid tribute ``with gratitude and respect`` to ``all the names of journalists who suffered and died for truth.``

IFJ President Jim Boumelha said that the current deepening crisis was ``shaking journalism to its roots`` and decried ``media bosses`` who ``milked profits for decades but now have abandoned the central values of professional journalism by cutting staff and resources and turning away from ethical and quality journalism to the banal and superficial.``

``We are united in believing that journalism is a public good and must fight to uphold the rights and virtues of journalism based on social responsibility and values,`` said the IFJ president, who declared that ``only journalists can save journalism.``