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UNITED KINGDOM SECTION

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Chairman's report to the 2012 Annual General Meeting

 

With much sadness I report the death of Colin Bickler, one of the Section’s most original members and a doughty champion of press freedom. He died earlier this month after an illness.

The UK Section in 2012: We attracted high-quality speakers on a wide range of subjects in the past year – including authoritative interpreters of the Eurozone crisis (Sharon Bowles MEP, Spyros Economides and Matthew Fell of the CBI); leading public figures (Christopher Graham, Information Commissioner, and UN Human Rights Committee vice-chair Professor O’Flaherty); insightful experts on Afghanistan (Gerard Cowper-Coles), France (Jacques Reland) and cybercrime (Misha Glenny) as well as the Ambassadors of Turkey and Georgia. My sincere thanks to my fellow AEJ officers Maggi Hughes and Mike Springate, as well as David Lennon, Events Director, for helping to keep the events topical and well-attended. Congratulations to David, too, for his election as one of the vice-presidents of the international AEJ, at the AEJ’s 2012 Congress in Offida, Italy.

We are grateful to Celia Hampton for keeping the AEJ UK website in fine shape and up to date, including plenty of news, novel features like "Briefings and Blogs" and a valuable back record of our own meetings and activities as well as the AEJ’s international work for media freedom, in dealings with European policy-making institutions such as the Council of Europe. Many thanks also to Rick and his wife Gill for making the membership cards for us again in 2013. You are reminded that the hard work that goes into AEJ activities is all voluntary and unpaid.

Future meetings: The European Commission Representation and European Parliament London Office continue to help us by enabling us to use their meeting rooms for lunch meetings. We are, however, in competition with rather a lot of other organisations which also reserve the space for many meetings. I ask members to be aware of the extra complication this can represent for us. We have much less flexibility now in offering possible dates to prospective speakers than we used to.

 

 

 

Non-AEJ events: The Section’s officers and Celia continue to give members advance notice of events hosted by others. If there is an appetite for this, we will happily continue the service, selecting those events that look interesting and worth notifying you about.

Young Journalists Support Scheme: Several student journalists or recent graduates have taken part in our meetings on an invitation basis. If members know of other suitable individuals please let me and Margaret know. Members are welcome to volunteer to promote the scheme.

Update on contacts with other groups: These include the Commonwealth Journalists Association, the newly-launched Free Speech Network and the European Parliament Office (journalism students competition re 40th anniversary of UK’s EU membership), and petitions and activities with journalists’ organisations In Europe and elsewhere.

Finances: Our Treasurer has recommended that after well over a decade without any increase in the amount we ask members to pay at the lunchtime meetings, the time has come when we should raise it from £20 to £25. The Section’s officers commended Mike’s proposal to the membership, as we were confident it would put our medium-term finances on a sound footing – in the face of the rise in necessary costs, including the all-in catering service we now enjoy.

 

William Horsley  

Chairman, UK Section of the AEJ  

January 2012  

 

 

Minutes of the Annual General Meeting

Secretary's report for the AGM

 Meetings