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Malta Minister to open CJA International Conference

Malta - The Three Cities by Clive Vella

Malta - The Three Cities by Clive Vella

The Commonwealth journalists conference in Malta from Jan. 30 to Feb. 2 will be opened by Dr Mario de Marco, Maltese Minister of Tourism, Environment and Culture. The journalists, members of the Commonwealth Journalists Association, and invited speakers will be from five regions of the Commonwealth and they will discuss various current issues challenging the media.

Topics on the programme: The future of the Commonwealth itself; Social media and other tools of the trade; The deadly targeting of journalists in bloody conflicts; Democratic frailness vs. the role of journalists; The impact of social media on democracy and good governance; Climate change and environmental disasters; Media ethics; Covering scandal in sport; and media law.

Canadian Senator Hugh Segal, who was a member of the recent Commonwealth Eminent Persons Group, will deliver a special lunchtime address on Tuesday 31 January on the issue of reform. Senator Segal is also Canada’s Special Envoy for Commonwealth Renewal.

On the opening day, Dr Michael Frendo, former Maltese Foreign Minister, will discuss Malta, the Commonwealth the the EU.

Commonwealth Assistant Secretary-General Steve Cutts will also see in a panel discussion on the future of the Commonwealth.

Why: This conference has become important for several reasons. Never in the Commonwealth’s history has media itself been so much the part of the daily news it delivers. Consider the Murdoch fiasco; killings in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, for example; outrage in The Gambia, Uganda, Fiji and elsewhere; arbitrary arrests and threats by authority and bullying by corporate powers; the shrinking by governments of access to information laws. And so on. All bear on journalists’ ethics, styles, livelihoods, safety and their very lives. All, in turn, have an impact on free society, democracy and good governance.

All of these increasingly threatening social shifts within Commonwealth and beyond have occurred even as technology and social media have increased the profession’s capacity to distribute and articulate the problems easier and perhaps solve them. CJA wants to examine causes and remedies of what ails the journalistic profession in so many countries.

Where: The conference will be held at the Radisson Blu Resort St. Julian’s, not far from Valletta, Malta’s capital.

Media contact: Rita Payne +356 79868399

ABOUT THE CJA: The CJA, headquartered in Toronto, Canada, is an association for journalists, many of whom are struggling to do good work in often hostile environments. The CJA’s strength comes from quiet work and moral influence in speaking for journalists throughout the Commonwealth, defending their interests, and trying to make them better at what they do.

The CJA was founded in 1978 by a group of journalists after a conference of Commonwealth non-governmental organisations at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada.

Since 1983, the CJA has organised training courses for journalists in many Commonwealth countries and in many fields, such as basic reporting, environmental journalism, election reporting, and financial analysis. Training programmes are funded mainly by Commonwealth Foundation and local partnership.

For more information about the conference, contact Bryan Cantley, Executive Director, Commonwealth Journalists Association, by email: bcantley@nna-ccj.ca. For more information about the CJA, go to www.commonwealthjournalists.com.


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