Together with HWPL, journalists advocate for press freedom

Freedom of expression for all

30 January 2018 | Education

Staff reporter

To reporters, the year 2017 brought many misfortunes in journalism. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) says at least 81 reporters were killed as violence against media soared. In response to such challenges, journalists from around the world along an international NGO have been seeking ways to enhance press freedom through international media network and peace journalism. Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL), an international NGO under the UN ECOSOC formed a series of HWPL Media Forums throughout 2017. These forums established various working groups consisting of journalists from across the world to check and promote peace and media freedom.

“We asked for it” – Problem comes from within.

Some of the outcomes of the discussions unearthed how some journalists felt that the current crisis of journalism is due in part to journalism itself. Media has lost its credibility due to the dissemination of a lot of negative news in an irresponsible way. Another problem pointed out by journalists is the trend of media coverage concentrating on war, conflict, violence, crime, and hatred that instill negative influence on society.

At the HWPL Media Forum held on 2 December 2017, in Tsinghua University, China; President Xinzheng Zhou from Macau Rule of Law Newspaper said that the media have their own observations that should not be controlled by others. Sharing on peace and international cooperation he added that, “It is important to preserve the independence of the media and obtaining objectivity of news is the responsibility given to journalists.”

Peace Journalism – the way to peace

Through the various media forums hosted by HWPL many journalists said that building an international media network focusing on the issues of peace building can bring out solutions to the current challenges they are facing. “Media freedom plays an important role in guaranteeing social stability, and in that sense constructing new ways to collect information across national borders will assure the right of each person to present ideas,” said Mr. Fedorov Petr, the director of international affairs at All-Russia State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company when he spoke in the HWPL Media Forum – Voice of Press in CIS back in May.

The call for this global network was heeded by 100 journalists from 50 countries who gathered in Seoul, South Korea on 17 September 2017 at the World Alliance of Religions’ Peace (WARP) Summit for “the Conference for Global Peace Media Network - Freedom of the Press and International Peace Media Community Initiative". In this forum Chairman Lee of HWPL said, “Who can play the most important role in making a world of peace without conflicts? It depends on journalists. If journalists dedicate themselves to peace building efforts, thoughts of people especially politicians will change. So, we have high expectation in journalism.”

One of the biggest achievements in HWPL’s peace activities is that we have built media network through journalists in countries with the low-level of media freedom. HWPL has actively engaged in spreading a culture of peace designated in the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW) drafted by HWPL as its peace initiative, and an online-based news channel will be the centerpiece of advocacy of media freedom and a world of peace.

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