Without a free press, there is no democracy. The Walkley Foundation supports the efforts of the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA) and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) in their campaigns for press freedom in Australia and around the world. The foundation raises awareness about press freedom issues through the Press Freedom Australia Dinner and other events, by contributing to MEAA’s annual State of Press Freedom report, and through coverage in the Walkley Magazine.
Press Freedom Australia Dinner
Hosted by the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance with the support of the Walkley Foundation and the IFJ Asia Pacific, The Press Freedom Australia Dinner is an opportunity for Australia’s most senior journalists, media and industry leaders to support press freedom. The dinner is a fundraiser for the Media Safety and Solidarity Fund (see details below).
Join us on Sunday, April 28, 2017.
- Whistleblowers need more protection: Walkley Gold winner Adele Ferguson’s 2016 speech.
- These things can’t just be left to the government: Veteran journalist Laurie Oakes’ speech at the 2015 Melbourne Press Freedom Dinner.
Press Freedom Australia Report
Each year, MEAA, the IFJ and the Walkley Foundation release a report assessing the current state of press freedom for Australian journalists: pressfreedom.com.au.
Media Safety and Solidarity Fund
The Media Safety and Solidarity Fund assists journalists in the Asia-Pacific region through times of emergency, war and hardship. Established by MEAA in 2005, the fund is a tangible product of strong interregional media partnership. It is administered by the Media Safety and Solidarity board whose trustees are chosen by MEAA’s National Media Section. You can donate by buying a ticket to the Press Freedom Australia Dinner, or donating directly through MEAA online. The current trustees are:
Nepal’s rocky transition to democracy has taken its toll on the country’s media community. Many children of journalists have lost one of their parents, and their families struggle to sustain their livelihoods. In 2015, MSSF is supporting the education of 30 children. It is also helping the media industry get back on its feet after the devastation of the Gorkha earthquake on April 25.
Pakistan is now the most dangerous country for journalists in the Asia-Pacific region. Last year, 14 journalists were murdered. Almost all were directly targeted. The MSSF trustees have agreed to establish an education fund, based on the Nepal and Philippines models, to assist the children of these journalists.
Typhoon Haiyan was one of the strongest tropical cyclones ever recorded. Up to a dozen journalists were killed by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, including two radio journalists working to keep their community informed when the storm surge struck Tacloban. The Media Safety and Solidarity Fund provided emergency assistance support for the families affected and journalist colleagues. The massacre of 32 media personnel, among a group of 58, in the southern Philippines on November 2009, is the world’s worst single atrocity committed against the media. The MSSF supports the primary and secondary education of more than 86 Filipino children, the sons and daughters of slain journalists.
The Fund continues to support a press freedom monitoring project in China. Run by IFJ Asia-Pacific, it is jointly funded by the National Endowment for Democracy. The Hong-Kong based media monitor and project coordinator researches and writes background reports, media statements and a regular monthly e-bulletin in English and Chinese, which are distributed through an international network of China press freedom advocates, journalists and freedom of expression experts developed by the program coordinator.
The Media Safety and Solidarity Fund has provided trauma and financial assistance to a journalist working as a fixer and translator for several Australian media organisations, following his kidnap, beating and court case to defend charges against him of arms trading.
IF AP Human Rights Advocacy
MEAA hosts the IFJ Asia-Pacific office. The most high-profile work is its human rights advocacy work – press releases, reports, lobbying, coordinating campaigns, coordinating missions, providing hands-on consultation for individual journalists in trouble. To help support the office continue this work, the MSSF has committed to directly funding the IFJ human rights advocacy program.