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Secretary's report on the UK Section for the Dublin Congress 2007

Prepared for the AEJ International Congress, Dublin, 8-10 November 2007


Membership of the UK section has grown to 41, up from 36 last year. Beyond the core of regular members, a broader range of journalists takes an interest in our professional lunches. These meetings are open to non-members and follow a question and answer pattern with guests who can shed light on issues of topical concern. This less formal circle now runs to nearly 200 email addressees who receive the AEJ's notices.

On 3 May, the World Press Freedom Day debate on "World Media Freedom is in Retreat" was chaired by William Horsley and supported by the section. The 100-odd journalists present voted more than 3:1 in favour of the motion. The high-profile speakers at this lively and well-informed session included Miklós Haraszti, the OSCE Representative on Media Freedom, and Oleg Panfilov from Moscow’s Centre for Journalism in Extreme Situations.

Several meetings in recent months have led to closer association with outside bodies. Most notably, our contact with Miklos Haraszti at the OSCE has resulted in his collaboration in the AEJ Media Freedom Survey, due out in November, and his presence at the 2007 congress in Dublin on 8-11 November.

To mark Germany's EU Presidency in the first half of 2007, the Embassy in London extended regular invitations to our members, including a ministerial level pre-Presidency briefing in December 2006. After our meeting with Ambassador Bustani, a number of us attended a memorable Brazil Day party at his residence on 6 September.

The section enjoys warm relations with the European Parliament's office in London. In particular, we much appreciate its making available an elegant room at its Georgian house in Westminster for our regular meetings.

We have also established closer relations with the European Commission's London office. The Commission generously hosted our meeting with Commissioner Frattini in February. It produced an excellent turnout including several new faces from national newspaper titles.

The section's AGM in January agreed that action was urgently needed to make the website,, more useful for members and more informative for the public. Updating the website in something closer to real time was the top priority. We decided to take the operation inhouse, and David Barker undertook the work of preparing a scheme for revision. In August, the Secretary completed a new version in plain text that can be updated as events happen.



Since our 2006 report, our lunchtime meetings have been with the following guests:

Geoff Hoon MP, then UK Minister for Europe

Miklos Haraszti, OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media

Eva Joly, adviser to the Norwegian Government on combatting corruption

Franco Frattini, European Commissioner for Justice and Home Affairs (a special briefing arranged with the Commission's London office)

Richard Lambert, Director General of the Confederation of British Industry

Christopher Johnson, former UK adviser, Association for the Monetary Union of Europe

Gérard Grunberg, Research Director at the Institute of Political Studies, Paris

Sir Jeremy Greenstock, former UK Special Envoy to Iraq

Richard Thomas, UK Information Commissioner

José Maurício Bustani, Brazil's Ambassador to the UK

Muhammad Abdul Bari, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain

Meetings scheduled for the rest of this year include:

Yiğit Alpogan, Turkey's Ambassador to the UK

Sir Francis Jacobs, Advocate General at the European Court, 1988-2006

Fatih Birol, Chief Economist at the International Energy Agency

The following officers were elected for 2007 by the section's annual general meeting in January:

Chairman : William Horsley

Secretary : Celia Hampton

Treasurer : Mike Springate

Our lunchtime meetings take place in central London. Members of other sections who would like to attend when visiting London will be very welcome indeed. To cover cost and enable us to be self-supporting, we charge a fee of £20. Please contact the Secretary who will tell you what is coming up or, if you wish, add you to our regular circulation list.

Celia Hampton, Secretary  

London, 26 September 2007



Minutes of the Annual General Meeting

Chairman's report

Secretary's report for the AGM