WAN-IFRA

A publication of the World Editors Forum

Date

Sun - 21.01.2018


May 2013

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On 16 January this year, President François Hollande addressed the press with a "message of confidence" (see Le Figaro's article in French). Concerning the topic of aid to the press, Hollande promised the French media that the government would get down to work on the somewhat thorny issue, with the aim of reorienting their aid towards the digital press. Following three months of hard work, this promise has finally been delivered: yesterday, Thursday 2 May, the group responsible for brainstorming ideas for press aid delivered its recommendations to the Minister of Culture and Communications, Aurélie Filipetti. The report does not suggest a complete overhaul of the press aid system, but instead recommends two major changes: firstly, that the government harmonises the VAT system applied to printed press and online press, and secondly, that it unites the currently scattered financial aid into one single fund, which would regularly report back on its usage. The report argues that, in the interests of establishing neutrality of government support, it is time to "put an end to the discrimination from which the online press is currently suffering" (see Le Figaro's article in French).

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Author

Emily Moore

Date

2013-05-03 17:48

Speak out for those who can't
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By WAN-IFRA

Free the press! It is a familiar refrain, one that grows louder year-on-year yet never loses relevancy. Why should a free press even be up for discussion? Are we failing to get the message across?

The simple answer is that the press equals power, and wherever power lies there are those who seek to control or influence it. By nature, a free press is untamed; capable of speaking unfiltered to public opinion, it has always been a vital conduit for free expression.

It has therefore been a constant target.

As we increasingly embrace our digital citizenship, the tyrants who oppose free speech are quickly learning how to act as digital oppressors. Targets are more numerous, attacks more complicated and diverse. Our awareness and vigilance must adjust with similar voracity.

Impunity for the killers of journalists extends also to those who murder bloggers. Censorship does not discriminate between editorial platforms. Prisons are built for those who “offend”, regardless of media.

It is impossible to prevent the oppressors of free speech from eroding our basic freedoms. And they do, as the press freedom indexes show, frequently and without heed for the consequences.

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Author

Andrew Heslop

Date

2013-05-03 10:56

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So what might we identify as the motivations behind creating a media expert role? For one, this announcement comes in the wake of Twitter’s appointment of Simon Rogers as its new data editor (see previous Editors Weblog article) - a move that signalled the social network site’s clear intention to increase its potential as a force of serious journalism, having somebody sift through their sea of tweets in order to fish out compelling news-worthy stories. Twitter already has a prominent media expert in its midst: Erica Anderson, who made it into Forbes’ "30 under 30" media list, appointed in February 2011 to "specialize in helping news organizations and journalists use Twitter effectively to find sources, develop comprehensive stories and engage audiences in meaningful civic discussions." Anderson already set up 'Twitter for Newsrooms' in 2011, an online toolkit designed to help journalists use Twitter for "finding sources, verifying facts, publishing stories, [and] promoting [their] work and [themselves]," already a significant step in fostering a relationship between Twitter and the media.

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Author

Emily Moore

Date

2013-05-02 17:55

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Groundviews has also been an important example for both Sri Lanka and the region to show how technology “could help create new forms of media that would not necessarily be subjected to the same censoriousness, the same violence, the same clamping down on freedom of expression that so many journalists and at the time, so much of media had endured in the 27-odd years of conflict,” he says.

In this edited interview, Hattotuwa, who will be speaking at the World Editors Forum in Bangkok on Wednesday, 5 June, tells us how the site has evolved, the challenges he faces, and his hopes for Groundviews’ future.

WAN-IFRA: What are some of the things that have changed the most since you started the site?

Sanjana Hattotuwa: Initially it was thought of as a tri-lingual space and that quickly became very difficult to manage, so I played to my strength and it evolved into an English-only platform. …

What also changes is the manner we use technology. We’ve pioneered – single-handedly almost – models of news and journalism on the web: Investigative journalism, data visualization, open-data driven journalism. Participatory models of getting readers to also add to the story in the space we’ve created … It’s regarded as a very rare thing in the country, unfortunately, which is a safe space for debate and discussion and the articulation of difference in a civil manner.

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Author

Brian Veseling

Date

2013-05-02 14:59


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