The United Nations Department of Public Information (DPI), the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and the Group of Friends for the Protection of Journalists* in New York invite you to an event in commemoration of 2018 World Press Freedom Day 

"Keeping Power in Check: The Protection of Journalists and Media Workers" 

Date: Thursday, 3 May 2018
High-Level Opening Session: 10 - 11 a.m.
Panel Discussion: 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Location: Conference Room 1, United Nations Headquarters, New York

High-Level Opening Session


Antonio Guterres, United Nations Secretary-GeneralMr. António Guterres
United Nations Secretary-General (Video Message)

Mr. António Guterres, the ninth Secretary-General of the United Nations, took office on 1st January 2017. Having witnessed the suffering of the most vulnerable people on earth, in refugee camps and in war zones, the Secretary-General is determined to make human dignity the core of his work, and to serve as a peace broker, a bridge-builder and a promoter of reform and innovation. Prior to his appointment as Secretary-General, Mr. Guterres served as United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) from June 2005 to December 2015, heading one of the world’s foremost humanitarian organizations during some of the most serious displacement crises in decades. Before joining UNHCR, Mr. Guterres spent more than 20 years in government and public service. He served as Prime Minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002, during which time he was heavily involved in the international effort to resolve the crisis in East Timor.

Miroslav LajčákH.E. Mr. Miroslav Lajčák
President of the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly

H. E. Mr. Miroslav Lajčák of Slovakia was elected as President of the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly on 31 May 2017. His tenure will span from September 2017 to September 2018. At the time of his election, H.E. Mr. Lajčák was serving his third term as Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic. Prior, H.E. Mr. Lajčák also served as Deputy Prime Minister of his country. H.E. Mr. Lajčák has dedicated his professional life to diplomatic service, representing both the Slovak Republic and the international community on posts in Brussels, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro. At the age of 31, H.E. Mr. Lajčák was appointed as the Slovak Ambassador to Japan, thus becoming the youngest-ever head of a diplomatic mission of Slovakia as well as the youngest foreign ambassador serving in Japan.


Jan KickertH.E. Mr. Jan Kickert
Permanent Representative of Austria to the United Nations
Chair of the United Nations General Assembly Committee on Information

H.E. Mr. Jan Kickert is the Permanent Representative of Austria to the United Nations and the Chair of the United Nations General Assembly Committee on Information. Prior to his appointment, H.E. Mr. Kickert was Director General for Political Affairs of the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs since November 2011. From 2009 to 2011, he served as his country’s Ambassador to Croatia. H.E. Mr. Kickert also served in a number of other Government positions, including in the Cabinet of the Minister for Foreign Affairs from 2005 to 2007, and as Deputy Head of the Cabinet from 2007 to 2009.  In the autumn of 2004, he acted as the personal representative to Kosovo of Javier Solana, the European Union's High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy.  From 2001 to 2004, he was Minister-Counsellor and Deputy Head of Mission at the Austrian Embassy in Ottawa, Canada.


Melissa KentMs. Melissa Kent
CBC Radio-Canada, Second Vice President of the United Nations Correspondents Association (UNCA)

Ms. Melissa Kent is an award-winning journalist currently based in New York City as the United Nations correspondent for CBC Radio Canada. She reports in English and French on local and international stories for radio and television. Her career as a journalist began in the Montreal television newsroom in 1998. Since then, she has held a number of radio and television positions at the CBC, including investigative reporter, assignment editor and producer. She has also volunteered for short-term assignments as a media instructor in Rwanda (2007) and Ghana (2013).


Nicole StremlauMs. Nicole Stremlau
Lead Researcher, UNESCO Report on World Trends in Freedom of Expression and Media Development; University of Oxford and University of Johannesburg

Ms. Nicole Stremlau is the lead researcher for the latest UNESCO Report on World Trends in Freedom of Expression and Media Development. She is Head of the Programme in Comparative Media Law and Policy at the University of Oxford and Research Professor in the Humanities at the University of Johannesburg. Ms. Stremlau has conducted extensive field research in the Horn of Africa, particularly Ethiopia, Uganda and Somalia. She currently holds a large European Research Council Grant, ConflictNet, for an extended 5-year project examining the role of social media in migration in conflict-affected regions of Africa. Ms. Stremlau’s research has appeared in top journals such as African Affairs, Third World Quarterly, the Journal of Eastern African Studies, and the International Journal of Communication. She is the co-editor (with Monroe Price) of Speech and Society in Turbulent Times (Cambridge University Press, 2018) and the author of Media, Conflict and the State in Africa (Cambridge University Press, 2018).



Alison Smale, USG for Global CommunicationsMs. Alison Smale
Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications, United Nations Department of Public Information (DPI)

Ms. Alison Smale is the Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications, United Nations Department of Public Information. Chief of Bureau of The New York Times in Berlin since 2013, Ms. Smale brought to the position almost 40-years of journalism experience gained in an international career. She has a proven track record as reporter, editor and senior leader. Appointed Executive Editor of the International Herald Tribune (IHT) Paris, in 2008, she is the first and only woman to have held that post. Ms. Smale went to the IHT in 2004 as Managing Editor from The New York Times, where she had been Deputy Foreign Editor since 2002, having joined The Times in 1998 as Weekend Foreign Editor. Earlier in her career Ms. Smale reported for United Press International and The Associated Press as Bureau Chief for Central and Eastern Europe, Vienna (1986-1998) and Correspondent, Moscow and Bonn (1983-1986, 1978-1983).



Panel Discussion

Concept Note

Opening Remarks

Francois DelattreH.E. Mr. François Delattre
Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations

H.E. Mr. François Delattre is currently Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations. H.E. Mr. Delattre previously served as Ambassador of France to Canada. He was appointed to this position in June 2008, following four years as French Consul General in New York (2004-2008), two years as Deputy Director of the French Foreign Minister’s Office (2002-2004) and four years as press and Communications Director at the French Embassy in Washington, D.C. (1998-2002). A career diplomat, H.E. Mr. Delattre was on the Foreign Policy Team of President Chirac from 1995 to 1998, with particular responsibility for security and defense issues. Before coming to New York, he was Deputy Chief of Staff to Dominique de Villepin, then Foreign Minister. In his career at the French Ministry, which he joined in 1989, he has held posts at the French Embassy in Bonn and in the Foreign Ministry's Department of Strategic Affairs and Disarmament.



Ramu Damodaran, DPIMr. Ramu Damodaran
Deputy Director for Partnerships and Public Engagement
Chief, United Nations Academic Impact, Outreach Division, DPI

Mr. Ramu Damodaran is the Chief of the United Nations Academic Impact, Outreach Division in the United Nations Department of Public Information, which aligns institutions of higher learning and research with the objectives of the UN, the Member States and the people who constitute it. His earlier posts with the Organization includes the Department of Peacekeeping and Special Political Questions, as well as the Executive Office of the Secretary-General. Mr. Damodaran worked for the Indian Foreign Service. He was promoted to the rank of Ambassador, and served as an Executive Assistant to the Prime Minister of India.



Marie BourreauMs. Marie Bourreau
Journalist, Correspondent for Le Monde and Radio France Internationale (RFI) at the United Nations in New York

Ms. Marie Bourreau is a journalist from France and correspondent for Le Monde and Radio France Internationale at the United Nations in New York. From 2003 to 2011, she produced numerous reports for the written press, television and radio, particularly on Afghanistan. She is the author of "We are brothers and enemies: one is Taliban, the other fights them", a book published in 2011 which evokes the ambivalence of the fight against terrorism in Afghanistan. Her work in war zones has been awarded several prizes. In the past, she has worked in Toronto, Le Caire and Kabul, all to support media in France.


Elisabet CartenysMs. Elisabet Cantenys
Executive Director, ACOS Alliance

Ms. Elisabet Cantenys is the Executive Director for A Culture of Safety Alliance (ACOS Alliance), an unprecedented coalition of news organizations, freelance journalist associations and press freedom NGOs working together to embed a culture of safety across newsrooms and among freelance and local journalists worldwide. Ms. Cantenys is former Head of Programmes at the Rory Peck Trust, in London. She joined the Trust in 2004 as a researcher and rose to the role of Head of Programmes in 2010, overseeing, managing and implementing more than a dozen journalist safety projects worldwide. Before joining the Rory Peck Trust, Ms. Cantenys worked as a freelance documentary producer, radio journalist and writer in New York, London and Barcelona.


Steve CollMr. Steve Coll
Dean & Henry R. Luce Professor of Journalism, Columbia School of Journalism

Mr. Steve Coll was appointed Dean of Columbia Journalism School in 2013 after serving as president of New America Foundation (2007-2012). He joined The New Yorker as a staff writer in 2005 and continues to write for the publication on politics, national security, and the media. Mr. Coll is also the author of eight nonfiction books, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, and a former reporter, foreign correspondent and senior editor at the Washington Post (1985- 2005). His latest book Directorate S, published in February 2018, is a follow-up to his 2004 Ghost Wars.


Loubna MrieMs. Loubna Mrie
Photojournalist and student at New York University

Ms. Loubna Mrie is a Syrian activist, who participated in the early days of the revolution. She has covered rebel held areas as a photojournalist for Reuters. Her work has been published in The Nation, Time, Vice, and elsewhere. She is now studying in the Near Eastern Studies Department at New York University. She is also a host of the Irrelevant Arabs podcast.


Discussants from the Floor

Whitney HurstMs. Whitney Hurst
Senior Producer, Al Jazeera English

Ms. Whitney Hurst is a Senior Producer at Al Jazeera English. She has covered the United Nations and global diplomacy for more than five years. Ms. Hurst was a Producer on the first-ever live television debate among candidates for the UN Secretary General held in the iconic UN General Assembly Hall. Whitney’s production work has taken her further afield from Tokyo to (literally) Timbuktu. Prior to, Al Jazeera, she worked at CNN International. Whitney spent six weeks covering the 2011 earthquake in Japan and the ensuing nuclear disaster.


Rob MahoneyMr. Rob Mahoney
Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)

Mr. Rob Mahoney joined the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) in August 2005 as Senior Editor and became CPJ's Deputy Director in January 2007. He has worked as a journalist in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. He reported on politics and economics for Reuters news agency from Brussels and Paris in the late 1970s, and from Southeast Asia in the early 1980s. Mahoney covered South Asia from Delhi for three years from 1985, reporting on the aftermath of Indira Gandhi's assassination, the civil war in Sri Lanka, and the fallout from the Soviet presence in Afghanistan. In 1988, he became Reuters Bureau Chief for West and Central Africa, based in the Ivory Coast and spending considerable time in Liberia covering the civil war. He served as Reuters Jerusalem Bureau Chief from 1990 to 1997, directing print and, later, television coverage of the Palestinian intifada, the Iraqi missile attacks on Israel, the Oslo peace process, and the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.


Margaux EwenMs. Margaux Ewen
North American Director, Reporters Without Borders (RWB)

Ms. Margaux Ewen is the North American Director for Reporters Without Borders (RWB). She runs the U.S. activities for the organization and advocates for journalists, bloggers and media rights worldwide. Acting as RWB’s spokesperson in the U.S., Margaux regularly appears on American media (CNN, VOA, The Daily Show, etc.) and foreign media (BBC, Al Jazeera, France 24, etc.) on press freedom violation issues and the work of RSF. Margaux joined RWB’s US office in July 2015 as Advocacy and Communications Director with a background in International Law. She has degrees from the Sorbonne in France and the George Washington University Law School in the US and speaks fluent French. Prior to RWB, she most recently worked with the American Bar Association’s Rule of Law Initiative to help develop a training manual on mining and human rights for civil society in Guinea.


Additional Resources:


*Members of the Group of Friends for the Protection of Journalists: Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cape Verde, Chile, Costa Rica, France, Greece, Jordan, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Republic of Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia, United States, Uruguay