At the virtual ministerial meeting of the Media Freedom Coalition today 16 November, Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu announced that Estonia would host the Global Conference for Media Freedom next year.
The foreign minister said Estonia was taking on the responsibility at a crucial moment. “The pandemic and political turmoil in many parts of the world have made the freedom of expression and media freedom both online and offline more important than ever. We are seeing restrictions on media freedom in Belarus, as well as in China, Russia and Venezuela,” Foreign Minister Reinsalu said.
“Publishing the truth remains a matter of life and death in many parts of the world. In the past 14 years, nearly 1200 journalists have been killed across the world, and in nine cases out of ten, these crimes have gone unpunished. This statistic is truly appalling,” Reinsalu said.
The synergies of internet and media freedom is one important topic Estonia would like to highlight. “Journalists and other media workers are more and more dependent on internet freedom and modern technologies. Internet shutdowns must end and the broadest possible access to internet services must be ensured,” Reinsalu said, adding that digital technologies should be human-centred and comply with human rights.
Advancing media freedom goes hand in hand with fighting disinformation. “Authoritarian regimes are using the media environment for carrying out hybrid operations,” Reinsalu said.
According to current plans, the conference will be held in the autumn of 2021. This year, the media freedom conference and ministerial meeting of the coalition was hosted by Canada and Botswana. The Media Freedom Coalition has 37 member states.
This evening, the minister will speak at a public discussion focused on the impact of disinformation on media freedom and human rights. The discussion can be watched here: https://www.international.gc.ca/campaign-campagne/media_freedom-liberte_…