Foreign Ministers Gather for 1st Annual Symposium on The State of Freedom of Expression

On September 25, 2008, a select group of foreign ministers and distinguished experts gathered at IPI to discuss “the State of Freedom of Expression: Access to Information as a Driver of Social Development.”

This first annual Trygve Lie Symposium was co-chaired by Mr. Carl Bildt, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sweden, and Mr. Jonas Gahr Støre, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Norway, and featured remarks by Mr. Hassan Wirajuda, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia, and Mr. Youssef Amrni, Director of Bilateral Relations at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Morocco. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of South Africa, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma was also present at the event.

The discussion came at a particularly opportune moment. Sixty years after the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, digital communications technology has revolutionized individuals’ access to information and their ability to broadcast their own views. The digital revolution has enabled many to take charge of their own lives, while millions remain on the wrong side of the digital divide. As CNN’s Chief International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour noted at the event, “genocide in Rwanda was allowed to unfold in full Technicolor. Ms. Amanpour and many of those present noted the need to harness the power of the global news media to intervene and prevent such things happening before they are allowed to progress too far.

As well as Ms. Amanpour, expert contributors included Carroll Bogert of Human Rights Watch, Agnes Callamard of ARTICLE 19, Frank La Rue Lewy, UN Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression, and Margaret Sekaggya, UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders.

The panel discussion, which fueled a lively question and answer session with the audience, was opened by IPI President Mr. Terje Rød-Larsen and moderated by IPI Vice President and Director of External Relations Mr. Warren Hoge.

Co-Chairs
Mr. Jonas Gahr Støre, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Norway
Mr. Carl Bildt, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sweden

Welcoming Remarks
Mr. Terje Rød-Larsen, President of IPI

Moderator
Mr. Warren Hoge, Vice President and Director of External Relations of IPI

Speakers – Foreign Ministers
Mr. Hassan Wirajuda, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia
Mr. Youssef Amrni, Director of Bilateral Relations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Morocco
Ms. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Minister of Foreign Affairs of South Africa

Speakers – Experts
Ms. Christiane Amanpour, CNN
Ms. Carroll Bogert, Human Rights Watch
Ms. Agnes Callamard, ARTICLE 19, Executive Director
Mr. Frank La Rue Lewy, UN Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression
Ms. Margaret Sekaggya, UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders

 

Slide show: Image 1 of 9
Photo Credits: Joe Peoples
Mr. Terje Rød-Larsen (IPI President) introduces participants.