WAN-IFRA, the World Association of News Publishers, is postponing its World News Media Congress in Zaragoza, Spain. The Congress was initially scheduled to take place in June. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, WAN-IFRA and its local host, Henneo Group, have decided to move the event to 17-19 September 2020.
“Demand for quality journalism has never been greater, the societal need for it rarely more urgent. We are doing our utmost to work alongside our members during this challenging period for the profession,” said Fernando de Yarza López-Madrazo, President of the Spanish media house Henneo and the President of WAN-IFRA. “I believe this Congress, in particular, will be a key moment for the industry to reconnect and figure out what will be a new baseline for the future of the industry. We hope that this discussion and sharing will lay the foundation for a critical meeting of editors and publishers in Zaragoza,” he added.
Said WAN-IFRA CEO Vincent Peyrègne: “The news media industry needs to urgently discuss the current crisis and its devastating impact on our businesses. It would have been inconceivable to hold this exchange safely in June. We plan to meet at the earliest opportunity, and we have decided to reschedule the World News Media Congress to 17-19 September in Zaragoza. Our primary concern and responsibility is the health and safety of our delegates, speakers and partners, we had little choice but to look for a new date.”
“Solidarity in action is more important than ever in these times of turmoil,” Peyrègne added. “We have seen how restrictions on freedom of expression have been extremely detrimental to a rapid and effective response. During this period, we have had to repeatedly intervene to support our members and publicly call on the authorities to ensure the safety of journalists in covering the health crisis and its social implications, as per international standards on freedom of expression. I am particularly proud and grateful to our staff and partners who welcome our members in the best conditions onboard our new online platforms and virtual meeting rooms to exchange their experiences, ideas and support for each other. The longer the crisis lasts, the more new digital formats will be offered on our part to help our members in these challenging times.”
In this exceptional context, WAN-IFRA is committed to addressing the safety of journalists and the continuity of the critical mission of the press. The organisation is connecting with members via live web meetings, association outreach, webinars, and has set up coronanewsroom.org, an online resource desk available for news media professionals to address the main challenges facing news media and share solutions in the context of the current global Coronavirus outbreak.