A symposium and benefit on press freedom will be held May 3, which is World Press Freedom Day, at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, to benefit the families of journalists who were killed, imprisoned, or persecuted last year. According to reports, 2003 saw more than 40 journalists killed (the most since 1995), around 750 arrested, and 1,460 physically attacked or threatened.
The freedom of expression group Resolution217 has organized the event, which is sponsored in part by the National Press Photographers Association and The Media Institute.
The Press Freedom Symposium will feature the photographs of Zahra Kazemi, an Iranian-Canadian photographer beaten to death in Tehran last year; Seok Jae-hyun, a South Korean photojournalist who was released from prison in China on March 19 after spending more than a year in jail; Molly Bingham, an American photographer jailed by Iraqi authorities for 8 days in the Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad; and Scott Dalton and Ruth Morris, both journalists kidnapped for 11 days by the rebel National Liberation Army (ELN) in Colombia.
The purpose of the symposium is to provide journalists, photographers and experts in the field of press freedom, representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and lawyers specializing in international human rights with an opportunity to describe the current state of freedom of the press worldwide and the challenges it faces in the dramatically changing political, economic, religious and cultural landscapes of the new century.
Scheduled Speakers include Stephan Hachemi, son of Zahra Kazemi; Seok Jae-hyun; Kathy and Amy Eldon, co-founders of Creative Visions Foundation and surviving relatives of Dan Eldon, a photographer stoned to death in Somalia in 1993; Kurt Wimmer, Media Institute's First Amendment Council Chair; Abi Wright, Asia Program Coordinator, The Committee to Protect Journalists; Tala Dowlatshahi, Representative, Reporters Sans Frontieres; Scott Dalton; Lucy Dalglish, Reporter's Committee; Paul McMasters, Freedom Forum; Molly Bingham; John Kaplan, Pulitzer-prize winning photographer; and David Handschuh, past president of the National Press Photographers Association.
The symposium will begin with dinner at 6:00 PM. Speakers and panels will start just after 7, followed by a question and answer session. An RSVP is required. Call +1.684.4699 or visit www.resolution217.org to reserve a seat with a donation.
All profits from the event will go to support the families of the photographers featured in the exhibition and to help establish a fund for the widows and children of journalists killed in Colombia because of their work. Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer John Kaplan has kindly donated prints for a silent auction that will continue throughout the evening.