Press Club Belarus accepted into International Association of Press Clubs
Press Club Belarus was given the role of observer during the General Assembly of the International Association of Press Clubs (IACP) that took place in Warsaw on June 3-5, 2013.
Alongside IACP members and candidates from around the world, editors and founders of Belarusian independent media were present: Ales Lipay (BelaPAN), Yosif Syaredzich (Narodnaya Volya), Aleksandr Ulitsenak (Svobodnie Novosti Plyus), Uladzimir Yanukevich (Intex-press), and Aleksandr Koktysh (Tut i Teper).
The General Assembly took place at a high level. During a ceremony at Warsaw’s Royal Castle, ‘Reporters without Borders’ received IACP’s freedom of speech award from former Polish president and ‘Solidarity’ leader Lech Walęsa. Other speakers include film director Andrzej Wajda, who talked about how censorship worked in Poland during communist times, and U.S. journalist Rita Cosby, a renowned Emmy-winning TV host, veteran correspondent and best-selling author.
During the General Assembly, discussions were held about cooperation between IACP members and the IACP’s development strategy for 2013. Organizations wishing to be accepted into the IACP (from Mongolia, Belgium, Israel, and Belarus) presented their work.
Press Club Belarus can participate in all events, apart from voting: formally, the status of observer does not give the right to vote.
‘This limitation is due to the fact that for the first time members of the assembly were faced with the situation when a Press Club had been created and is working outside the country, this is why the term ‘observer’ has been temporarily adopted, - noted Yuliya Slutskaya, founder and chairperson of Press Club Belarus. ‘But Press Club Belarus cannot be inside Belarus because, according to the Association’s rules, press clubs can only exist in countries where there is freedom of speech. As soon as Belarus becomes such a country, Press Club Belarus’ activities will be focused inside Belarus’.
Press Club Belarus was set up in Warsaw in June 2011 by a range of well-known Belarusian media experts. To date, it has functioned under the auspices of Press Club Polska.
Press Club Belarus aims to become a lively communication platform for Belarusian journalists and their international counterparts interested in Belarus to exchange information, experience and contacts. In the past two years, Press Club Belarus has held meetings with well-known and interesting personalities, including Zhanna Litvina (Belarusian Association of Journalists), Gleb Labadzenka (freelance journalist/civic activist), Gulliver Cragg (France 24), Andrzej Khadanovich (Belarusian PEN Centre) and Adam Pomorski (Polish PEN Centre), winners of ‘Belarus in Focus’, the international competition for journalists, and others.
Note from SBIO: Set up in 2002, the International Association of Press Clubs is a global organization with over 40 members from Europe, North America, Far and Middle East, Asia and Australia. It aims to develop dialogue, cooperation and exchange of practice and ideas between IACP members, as well as to develop and raise the effectiveness of information exchange with political, economic, social and cultural institutions.