Running alongside the World Press Freedom Day conference in Helsinki was the first World Press Freedom Day Research conference, organised in part by CFOM. The conference was attended by more than 50 academics from across the globe. The aim was to discuss and share research and ultimately to form a new academic research network that can be used to build a collaborative community of scholars who can share their research, knowledge, skills and expertise. In a time of increasing restrictions upon free media across the world, it is more urgent than ever that academics work together to raise awareness and to convince stakeholders of their fragility and their importance.
The conference emphasised the importance of research in all areas, ranging from empirical studies on the changes in media freedom across different states to theoretical research, focusing on the ethical necessity of media freedom, and how that might look. With the increasingly global reach of media and the growth of citizens’ media it is vital that academia takes an international, multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research approach to the safety of journalism and journalists and to address the problem of high levels of impunity for those who seek to silence freedom of expression and diminish the sustainability of civil societies and democratic cultures.
The network, launched by CFOM, with support from UNESCO, will connect academics from across the world, facilitating valuable connections and collaborations. The network will be based on the CFOM website, but will expand across social media and other platforms.
We are currently researching the best way of creating and managing the network. We are hoping to have a sign up form on the website very soon. The Network itself will run across several platforms, including social media, and will enable academics and journalists to upload and share conference papers and articles. We are hoping to be able to provide the option to search for collaborators according to the areas in which they are working.
Our hope is that this network will allow for greater ease in collaboration and sharing of ideas. We hope that this will enable us to better investigate the changing state of global media freedom, with the goal of influencing global policies.