International Press Institute (IPI)

Legendary Anchorman Dan Rather Further Enhances IPI World Congress Speaker Line-Up

'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 press."

    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 them away."

    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.

    Rückfragehinweis:

    For media enquiries please contact: Louise Hallman
    Tel: +43 1-512 90 11      Fax: +43 1-512 90 14    E-mail: contact@freemedia.at
    For registration and other information: Milica Miletic
    Tel: +43 1-512 90 11    Fax: +43 1-512 90 14         E-mail: mmiletic@freemedia.at
    http://www.ipiworldcongress.com
    Follow us on Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/IPI_WoCo2010

    Digitale Pressemappe: http://www.ots.at/pressemappe/5855/aom



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