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Visiting journalism law professor to talk about free speech

Visiting journalism law professor to talk about free speech and social media

A leading Australian journalism law professor and freedom of the press advocate will give New Zealand’s inaugural UNESCO World Press Freedom Day lecture at AUT University next week.

Professor Mark Pearson, professor of journalism and social media at Griffith University near Brisbane, will be speaking on the theme “Press freedom, social media and the citizen”, at the university on May 3, observed globally as media freedom day.

The public address is being hosted by AUT’s Pacific Media Centre and supported by the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO and the School of Communication Studies.

UNESCO, the UN agency with a mandate for freedom of expression through its Communications and Information Programme, takes a lead role in promoting this freedom as a human right through its celebration each year of World Press Freedom Day.

This year’s international theme is: “Safe to speak: Securing freedom of expression in all media”.

“This broadens the debate,” says Professor Pearson, who publishes a high profile blog on media law and free media issues,

“It opens the way for an exploration of the libertarian origins of press freedom and the advent of social media and citizen journalism at a time when we are looking for new models of media responsibility and ethics – beyond a social responsibility model – some of which embrace cultural and religious notions of truth and story-telling.”

Professor Pearson is the author of the popular textbook The Journalist’s Guide To Media Law, which has run to four editions, and Blogging and Tweeting Without Getting Sued.

He is also the Australian correspondent of the Paris-based media freedom advocacy group Reporters Sans Frontières (Reporters Without Borders) and is on the editorial board of the New Zealand-based Pacific Journalism Review.

A half-hour documentary, Media Freedom in the Pacific, commissioned by the International Federation of Journalists will also be screened and speakers include Professor Judy McGregor, head of AUT’s School of Social Sciences, and Tim McBride for UNESCO New Zealand’s communications committee.

Venue: WG126, Communications Precinct, Sir Paul Reeves Building, AUT University, 2 Governor Fitzroy Place, Auckland City
When: 5:30-7:30pm, May 3

World Press Freedom Day event page at the Pacific Media Centre
UNESCO World Press Freedom Day resource page
Press Freedom in the Pacific documentary video on YouTube
Live streaming of Professor Pearson’s speech at AUT On Demand


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