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Launching Amnesty International Media Network

Media Release

For immediate release

6 November 2009


Launching Amnesty International New Zealand’s Media Network

Writing a critical article about the New Zealand Government would not result in the delivery of death threats to your home.  Nor would writing a blog post about organising a peaceful protest find your car riddled with bullets.

For some journalists around the world, these scenarios are their reality. This is the price they pay for doing their job without censorship and limitation.

Amnesty International Aotearoa New Zealand is this month launching a Media Network to promote and protect the basic human right to freedom of expression and its defenders, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region.

“Almost 50 years ago, Amnesty International grew out of a newspaper article printed in the United Kingdom’s The Observer. Human rights lawyer Peter Benenson wrote ‘The Forgotten Prisoners’, which urged people to take action to stop political persecution,” says Margaret Taylor, Amnesty’s Activism Support Manager.

“Freedom of expression has always been a core part of Amnesty International’s work, and the media have long been at the forefront of the human rights struggle.”

“Media workers are also human rights defenders in their own right because their actions depend on, and fuel, freedom of expression. For simply telling the truth they are often targets of abuse.”

Through the Media Network, Amnesty International is encouraging New Zealand media to open up a wider dialogue on human rights. The Network will offer journalists direct access to the organisation’s independent research and experts around the world.

“Human rights abuses can be prevented, or at least punished, when they are exposed by the media,” says Taylor.

Amnesty International’s Media Network launch event will take place on Courage Day (15 November), marking the International Day of the Imprisoned Writer.

The Courage Day event, hosted by PEN (the NZ Society of Authors and Writers), will be at the Mt Albert War Memorial Hall in Auckland from noon to 4:30pm, 15 November.  Tickets are available in advance from The Women’s Bookshop in Ponsonby, Auckland for $18. Tickets are also sold at the door for $20 or $15 for students.


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