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Minutes of the 2013 Annual General Meeting

The AGM was held at Europe House, 11:15-12:15 on Monday, 27 January 2014

 

The AGM was attended by 13 members of the section. All the officers were present with the exception of Treasurer Mike Springate, who sent apologies. He has a broken arm and will be out of action for some weeks. Members wished him a speedy recovery. Celia Hampton had stepped in as Acting Treasurer, which was much appreciated.

Chairman William Horsley presented his written report. He thanked all the officers for making 2013 a successful year for the section, noting that all give their time freely. There had been good feedback from the guest lunches with some outstanding speakers.

The section had been well represented at the international AEJ Congress, which had been held in November at the Brussels Press Club. It had been notable for a resolution condemning mass state surveillance, as revealed by the Snowden leaks. The AEJ had been one of the founding signatories on an earlier Index on Censorship petition on the same subject, which had been delivered to EU leaders in October. The 2014 Congress would be held in Burgenland, Austria (more details to be sent out later).

William summarised some of his work as the International AEJ Media Freedom Representative including high-profile collaborations with the Council of Europe, who had just announced new mechanisms for the protection of journalists, and had established a new committee on journalism safety. The AEJ is a member of that committee. It is also an official supporter of an international conference on "Freedom of Media under Pressure" to be held on 28 February in Vienna.  Any members able to attend would be welcome.

 

 

Acting Treasurer Celia Hampton presented the accounts for the 2013 calendar year, shown as a simple balance sheet. The year had been in surplus and there was a healthy bank balance. David Barker led a brief discussion about the membership fee and charges for lunches. Members agreed that these should remain unchanged at £30 and £25 respectively.

It was noted that the section offers a young journalists’ discount rate of £10 membership and £10 lunch fees for journalists or students who are under 25.  Indeed, it had been agreed that one or two students could attend two meetings each with no charges, as an introduction to the AEJ. There was a discussion on how to encourage more attendance by young journalists and students. Colin McIntyre would get in touch with people he knows at City University which has a large journalism department. Rick Thompson offered to produce a flier for college notice boards in London, advertising the AEJ’s activities and the special offers for students.

Celia hoped for some "big name guests" in the coming year to boost attendance at monthly meetings. William mentioned that the EP Office allocates one day a month to the AEJ, often 3 months ahead. This makes it more difficult to book busy guests. Events Director David Lennon urged all members to propose good speakers. Suggestions, preferably with an email or other contact, should please be emailed to William and David. 

 

 

Secretary Margaret Hughes presented her written report, summarising the events of the past year. This stimulated further discussion about topical European subjects that might help to identify good guest speakers, such as the WWI centenary, the new European Parliament after the May elections, the new Commission in the autumn, changes at the top at both NATO and the Council of Europe, the Scottish referendum, and a climate change summit in Paris at the end of the year.

Election of Officers. Rick Thompson had written to propose the re-election of the Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer for another year. This was seconded by Jonathan Fryer, and with no other candidates stepping forward, William, Margaret and Michael were elected unopposed. David Lennon had agreed to continue as Events Director, and Celia would continue to keep the AEJ-UK website updated. All were warmly thanked for their time-consuming efforts on behalf of the Association of European Journalists, and the meeting ended with a round of applause for the officers. 

Afterwards, the Marquis of Granby kindly hosted an informal networking event when Europe’s problems were all definitively solved.

Rick Thompson, January 2014