'We're in Grave Danger of Losing the News as We Have Known It'
Wien (ots) - The International Press Institute (IPI) on Tuesday
announced that legendary US anchorman and reporter Dan Rather is to
host a town hall-style debate at this year's IPI World Congress in
Vienna and Bratislava.
Rather, whose career has spanned five decades, will speak and
moderate at the final session of the World Congress - entitled "Media
Freedom in a Time of Change." The session, to be hosted at Cerveny
Kamen Castle, near the Slovakian capital, will conclude the three-day
event, summing up what has changed, what questions have been answered
during the Congress, and what future steps need to be taken.
Rather reported on the assassination of JFK, Watergate, Tiananmen
Square and the wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq, and was an
anchor of the CBS Evening News for 24 years. He recently called on
the administration of US President Barack Obama to hold a commission
on the future of journalism.
"We're in grave danger of losing the news as we have known it,"
Rather told IPI in an exclusive interview on Monday, 12 April.
"Things are changing very rapidly and the pace of change has
accelerated greatly in the past five to ten years. I have no idea
where it's headed, but I am an optimist by nature and by experience
and so I remain optimistic that we will come through this period of
accelerated change, at the least alright and maybe for the better."
This year's IPI World Congress marks the 60th anniversary of the
founding of IPI, and will be held in Vienna and Bratislava from 11-14
September 2010. Under the overall theme, "Thinking the Unthinkable:
Are We Losing the News? (Media Freedom in the New Media Landscape),"
the Congress will focus attention on the state of the news media
itself, offering useful examples of how innovative media companies
around the world are not just surviving, but actually thriving in the
new media landscape.
At the heart of all the discussions during the Congress will be
the issue of press freedom in this new media landscape, something
Rather feels passionately about. "I think this is a dire time for
journalism," he told IPI. "But ... let's not lose sight of the core,
and the core is that freedom of the press is the red, beating heart
of freedom and democracy. And it's absolutely essential, totally
vital. You can't have freedom and democracy without having a free
Rather joins a growing list of prominent speakers from a host of
different organisations who will be present at the Congress, and he
welcomed the chance to discuss and work towards solutions for the
future of journalism.
"There is an aching need for an independent, fiercely independent
journalism, and it has in some ways gone out of fashion... What I
like about the [IPI World] Congress ... is it's a gathering of
journalists and others who recognize the problem, define the problem
and clearly state what the problem is, and then explore some possible
solutions. These problems are not going to go away just by wishing
The full interview with Dan Rather will appear in the next
Congress Newsletter and online at www.ipiworldcongress.com.
To see the biographies of all the confirmed speakers, as well as
more about the programme, visit the official Congress website:
www.ipiworldcongress.com. All the latest news about the Congress and
updates on the issues to be discussed in September can be found by
following the Congress team on Twitter at IPI_WoCo2010 and by
visiting our Facebook Page.
IPI's partners for the Congress include: Austrian Airlines; Bank
Austria - Member of UniCredit Group; City of Vienna; Federation of
Austrian Industries (IV); Google; OMV; Samsung Electronics Ltd;
Telekom Austria Group; Twin City Liner; Slovak Telekom; Slovak Health
Spa Piestany and Prva stavebna sporitelna (PSS).
Media partners include: ORF - Austrian Broadcasting Corporation;
Der Standard newspaper, and APA - Austria Presse Agentur.
For media enquiries please contact: Louise Hallman
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For registration and other information: Milica Miletic
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