ASSOCIATION OF EUROPEAN  JOURNALISTS

UNITED KINGDOM SECTION

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Secretary's report on the UK Section for the AEJ's 2008 Congress

Prepared for the AEJ International Congress at Linz, Austria – 21-22 November 2008

 

 

The UK Section celebrated its 40th birthday with a party on 30 October, organised jointly with the Foreign Press Association, whose 120th birthday also fell this year. It took place in the FPA's splendid mansion in Carlton House Terrace, the London residence of the 19th century prime minister, William Gladstone (see AEJ in the UK).

Most of our members were there, as were many of our past guests and the Foreign Secretary, David Miliband. It was a memorable and enjoyable evening.

UK Section Chairman William Horsley called the attention of the assembled public figures and media people to the decline of media freedom and free expression in much of Europe, as shown by many recent OSCE and Council of Europe reports.

World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) was marked on 2 May 2008 by a debate on "New Media is Killing Journalism". Hosted by the Frontline Club and chaired by William Horsley, the event was packed and the motion was defeated by more than three votes to one.

The UK Section's website, www.aej-uk.org, features details of the WPFD debates and workshops held by many AEJ sections around Europe, as well as giving public access to the AEJ's ground-breaking Media Freedom Survey, launched at the AEJ's Dublin Congress a year ago. This, like the follow-up Survey of February 2008, has been a huge success. If you google the words "media freedom", the AEJ web page appears in 8th place out of 292 million search results!

Section membership rose in 2008 from 41 to 42 paid-up and honorary members. The section's main activity is our lunchtime briefings by guests active in all aspects of European affairs. Our regular venue in Westminster is generously provided without charge by the London office of the European Parliament.

 

 

During 2008, we hosted lunches with the following guests:

Lord (Andrew) McIntosh, Chairman of the Council of Europe Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights

Dr Lilia Shevtsova, Russian political scientist, scholar and author

Christopher Walker, Director of Studies at Freedom House

Patrick Mercer MP, an authority on defence and security issues

HE Mr Maurice Gourdault-Montagne, French Ambassador to the UK

The Rt Hon Mr David Lewis, Lord Mayor of the City of London

Michael Connarty MP, Chairman of the Commons European Scrutiny Committee

and, at the time of writing, the following were yet to be held:

Jon Moulton, head of the private equity firm, Alchemy Partners, and respected critic of the financial world (13 November)

HE Mrs Barbara Tuge-Erecińska, Polish Ambassador to the UK (9 December)

The Annual General Meeting of the section on 10 January elected the following officers:

Chairman : William Horsley, william@aej-uk.org

Secretary and webmaster: Celia Hampton, celia@aej-uk.org

Treasurer : Michael Springate, aandmspringate@thamesinternet.com

The executive has since been joined by David Lennon as Events Director. His organisational skills are much appreciated.

Celia Hampton, Secretary 

London, 1 November 2008

 

 

Minutes of the Annual General Meeting

Chairman's report

Secretary's report for the AGM

Meetings