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Friday, June 2, 2006

Edinburgh, May 2006 – London and Moscow, June 2006

Bernard Margueritte and Bill Porter joined forces to take part in the International Press Institutes Congress at Edinburgh from 27 to 30 May. The Institute is particularly concerned with the freedom of the media worldwide and with the safety of journalists in conflict situations and under threat for political reasons. Bernard and Bill had valuable talks with some seventy of the delegates on the ethical issues facing the media. Bill was invited to join their group concerned with the African continent

The Congress was addressed by Jack McConnell, the First Minister of Scotland who made a passionate appeal to the media to avoid presenting material that could undermine values with the younger generation.

Bill Porter then went on to London and, as a member of the London Press Club. helped to host their conference for the International and European Press Clubs, which included a reception at the Royal Commonwealth Society addressed by Don McKinnon, Commonwealth Secretary General; and a visit to the British Library’s exhibition on 500 Years of Newspapers. Alan Rusbridger, Editor of THE GUARDIAN, and Simon Waldrnan, Director of Digital Publishing for the Guardian Group, gave a remarkable insight into the development of new technology in the news world, ending up with the forecast that most countries would only have two national daily newspapers within the next ten years, given the rapidly growing access to news through websites and electronic means.

Bernard Margueritte travelled to Moscow for the World Association of Newspapers Annual Congress from 4 to 7June, meeting many old friends including Roger Parkinson, a former President, who agreed to join the Advisory Board of the ICF’s United States Chapter. The current President. Gavin O’Reilly and Head of the Independent Group, made a strong appeal to the Russian leadership, with Vladimir Putin present, to stop seeking to control their media and to encourage its freedom and plurality. Bernard had meetings with ICF activists in Russia , including Nathalya Skvortsova, a. Vice President of the ICF and now a National Secretary of the Russian Journalists Association. There will be a Russian delegation to the ICF’s sessions at the Caux Conference from 31 July to 4 August.