By Nawab Khan
BRUSSELS, June 9 (KUNA) -- The upcoming World Congress of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) in Tunis will discuss important issues for the media in the Arab world, according to Secretary General Anthony Bellanger.
"For the first time since 1926 when the IFJ was established, we are organising our global Congress in the Arab world and also in the African continent," Bellanger told Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) in an interview in Brussels.
"For this reason this Congress is very important. Our affiliates in Africa and the Arab world are very important for us because many issues in these countries will be discussed in Tunis," he said.
Over 300 participants representing journalists unions and associations across the world will attend the 30th IFJ Congress from June 11-14, which will put the future of journalism in the digital age at the top of its agenda.
"Therefore this Congress in Tunis is very important and symbolic for us," he said, adding that Tunisia has seen a lot of progress in the media sector but still much needs to be done.
In the rest of the Arab world media progress is different from one country to another, noted the IFJ chief, stressing the role of news agencies in the Arab world in contributing to the progress of the press. Bellanger, from France, was appointed in 2015 by the IFJ executive committee.
IFJ is present in 146 countries representing around 600,000 journalists around the world, making it the biggest media organisation in the world, he said.
Bellanger noted that during the Congress on Wednesday there will be regional meetings with the countries of the Arab world and there will be a special session to discuss big issues in the region and it is very important because we hold this once every three years.
On his part, Mounir Zaarour; Middle East and Arab World Policy and Programme Director at the IFJ, told KUNA that at the margins of the Congress, the IFJ is looking forwards to strengthen the relationship and the working programme with the IFJ affiliates in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, which include journalist associations in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman and UAE.
"This working programme will look into how we can support the future of journalism in the region with these five Gulf countries. We want to strengthen the relations with the Associations in the Gulf countries to form a kind of Alliance to protect the future of journalism," he added.
The Congress will kick off next Tuesday with debates on three key issues; the future of journalism in the digital age, good trade union practices around the world and the situation of journalism in the Middle East after the Arab Revolutions.
Delegates will also discuss and adopt a new "IFJ Global Charter of Ethics for Journalists", which was first adopted in 1954 by the IFJ's World Congress and last amended in 1986.
The Congress will also elect a new IFJ President and Executive Committee. (end) nk.hb