Canada and Botswana to co-host second Global Conference for Media Freedom

The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today revealed that Canada will co-host the second Global Conference for Media Freedom with Botswana.

Canada has been leading and supporting resolutions on freedom of expression and the protection of journalists in the UN Human Rights Council and General Assembly. Since 2015, Canada has invested $18.2 million in programs supporting the media and the free flow of information. In 2019, Canada committed $1 million to the new Global Media Defence Fund, administered by UNESCO.

This online conference will bring together traditional and digital media workers, international and civil society organizations, and governments. It will provide a forum to develop collaborative and innovative approaches that counter the challenges to media freedom and that strengthen the protections required to safeguard journalists, freedom of expression and human rights around the world.

The Minister stated that Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, will deliver the keynote address at the global conference. The High-Level Panel of Legal Experts on Media Freedom, chaired by Lord Neuberger and deputy-chaired by Amal Clooney, will also provide an update on its work.

He wrote: “A vibrant and free media is essential to democracy and human rights. During this critical time, we must stand together to protect the freedom of media workers who pursue necessary truths, within and beyond our own borders. Canada looks forward to co-hosting the 2020 Global Conference for Media Freedom with Botswana. Let’s remain united in our efforts to overcome threats to the vital work and safety of journalists around the world.”

This conference aims to solidify the success of the inaugural Global Conference for Media Freedom in London last year co-hosted by Canada and the United Kingdom, the first Global Conference for Media Freedom in July 2019.

This year’s online event will feature the first Ministerial meeting of the Media Freedom Coalition, a coalition of 37 governments committed to working together to advocate for media freedom and the protection of journalists.

The conference will provide a forum to strengthen joint efforts in defending media freedom worldwide and connect with journalists and media workers, civil society, and governments.

The Global Conference for Media Freedom is set to take place on November 16, 2020, speakers at the conference will be published on the 2020 Global Conference for Media Freedom web page over the coming weeks.