Press Club Belarus awarded IAPC Associate Member status

April 22, 2016 18:52

Last week, on June 12-13 at the General Assembly of the International Association of Press Clubs (IACP) in Vienna, Press Club Belarus was officially awarded the status of Associate Member – the highest status that can be achieved when a press club is not located in its own country. 

Press clubs members travelled from Ulaanbataar, Jerusalem, Warsaw, Geneva, New Delhi, and London to update each other on their activities, work on joint plans for the future, and informally get to know each other via an informal agenda.  Also present were representatives of leading freedom of speech organizations – Media Legal Defence Initiative, Index on Censorship, Reporters Instructed in Saving Colleagues (RISC), International Media Support (IMS), and International Press Institute to talk about their activities and network with participants. 

The highlight was the opportunity to take part in a traditional Viennese ball at the Vienna city hall – organized by the Austrian hosts, Concordia Press Club as an annual fundraising event since the 19th century. 

Freedom of speech is one of the core values of the International Association of Press Clubs – a body set up in 2002 that currently comprises around 40 members from around the globe. Press clubs provide a relaxed, social environment for journalists and media professionals to discuss media-related issues, and allow the free flow and creation of ideas. In addition, some clubs organize film and book presentations, informal meetings with high-profile figures, offer career consultations, grants for young journalists, and journalism awards. 

Press Club Belarus has existed since June 2011, set up by a group of Belarusian media professionals. It aims to help shape an informal environment among media professionals in Belarus, and help integrate Belarusian media professionals with their international counterparts –in that way, opening up new perspectives for media in Belarus.

To date, its main activity are informal monthly meetings for journalists, editors, and others working in or with media in Belarus. Until this year, these meetings were held in Warsaw on a monthly basis, however, they are now being moved to Minsk. Other Press Club Belarus activities  include the ‘Belarus in Focus’ annual journalism competition, targeted trainings for Belarusian journalists/editors, as well as consultations and information for journalists from outside Belarus who wish to write about the country.

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Press Club Belarus, since June 2014 IAPC Associate Member, is an informal community of Belarusian media professionals, currently located in Warsaw. Its meetings are facilitated by Belarus in Focus Information Office.