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Chairman's report to the 2006 Annual General Meeting

 

In 2006 our list of speakers at members' professional lunches was exceptionally strong. It included two renowned anti-corruption figures, the Romanian Justice Minister, Monica Macovei, and the French-Norwegian former magistrate Eva Joly, who addressed us on the eve of the launch in November of the English version of her book "Justice Under Siege". Also, senior Turkish MP, Yasar Yakis, and OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Miklos Haraszti, as well as former British Ambassador to Washington, Sir Christopher Meyer, and the Minister for Europe, Geoff Hoon MP.

We had good attendance at all the lunchtime meetings. We intend to maintain the high quality of guest speakers, including figures from a wide range of European states covering various fields of activity.  Please note that Sir Jeremy Greenstock, former UK special envoy to Iraq, had agreed to be our guest on 23 May this year.

The past year was remarkable for the way that the AEJ British section developed an array of fruitful contacts with other organisations both in the UK and internationally.

OSCE: Mr Haraszti's appearance at the AEJ in London was part of a wider programme of planned activities involving the AEJ with the OSCE's Representative on Freedom of the Media. Press Freedom is, at the initiative of the British Section, a central theme of the 2007 Annual Assembly of the AEJ, in Dublin Castle in November. Mr Haraszti agreed to speak at that Assembly, and also in the debate on 3 May 2007 in London marking World Press Freedom Day, on the motion "World Press Freedom is in Retreat".

German Embassy: a good number of AEJ members took up the invitation from the German Embassy in London to attend a high-level briefing session by senior political representatives of the 2 parties in Germany's coalition government, on the theme of Germany's EU Presidency (first half of 2007).

 

 

The London Press Club extended the opportunity to AEJ members for membership in the club, with a central London location and an attractive programme of events Our thanks go to Martyn Bond and the LPC.

The British Section is actively assisting our Irish AEJ colleagues in preparing for the 2007 Dublin Congress and Assembly in November.

We are actively involved in World Press Freedom Day event on 3 May 2007 - a debate with high-profile speakers on the motion "World Press Freedom is in Retreat" at Portcullis House in Westminster, along the pattern of vigorous debate in 2006 on "Press Freedom and the Danish Cartoons Row".

In 2007 we saw a good number of new faces at our meetings and new members.

Finally, a reminder to members that the AEJ flourishes when our own members give support by attending, contributing to our plans, helping with recruitment and, when possible, contriuting their own time and effort for our common goals.

The year saw a significant change in the line-up of AEJ UK officers. Kevin d'Arcy retired as Executive Secretary after many years of committed and enthusiastic service.  The Section thanks him warmly for all his past work. He remains an active member.

Celia Hampton generously agreed to perform the duties of Secretary as well as Treasurer of the Section for much of the past year. Mike Springate agrees to become Treasurer for the year ahead while Celia continues to serve as Secretary.

Thanks to all and all good wishes for 2007!

 

William Horsley, 10 January 2007

 

Minutes of the Annual General Meeting  

 

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