WNMC.20 Zaragoza put off three months - 'need to meet is urgent'

WAN-Ifra's World News Media Congress 2020 in Zaragoza, Spain, is the latest casualty of the COVID-19 crisis.

Initially scheduled to take place in June, the global event is being moved to September 17-19, with the support of local host Henneo Group.

Chief executive Vincent Peyrègne says given the urgent need for the news media industry to discuss the crisis and its impact, "we plan to meet at the earliest opportunity".

INMA, which was to have held its World Congress in Paris from April 23-28, has already effectively been cancelled, with the next congress to be held in in May 2021 in New York.

While noting a primary concern and responsibility to the health and safety of delegates, speakers and partners, Peyrègne says WAN-Ifra had little choice but to look for a new date: "Solidarity in action is more important than ever in these times of turmoil," he says, while emphasising the need for an early gathering.

"We have seen how restrictions on freedom of expression have been extremely detrimental to a rapid and effective response. During this period, we have had to repeatedly intervene to support our members and publicly call on the authorities to ensure the safety of journalists in covering the health crisis and its social implications, as per international standards on freedom of expression."

WAN-Ifra president Fernando de Yarza López-Madrazo, who is president of Spanish media house Henneo (pictured), stresses the urgent societal need for quality journalism: "We are doing our utmost to work alongside our members during this challenging period for the profession," he says.

"I believe this Congress, in particular, will be a key moment for the industry to reconnect and figure out what will be a new baseline for the future of the industry."

WAN-Ifra is currently connecting with members via live web meetings, association outreach and webinars, and has set up online resource desk coronanewsroom.org. Last year's Congress in Glasgow drew around 900 people from over 60 countries for three days of conferences, executive meetings, networking and social events.

Planned for the 2020 Congress are the Women in News Summit gathering, a stream for publishers, owners and chief executives dubbed the World Digital Revenue Forum, and the World Editors Forum.

Partners and registered delegates will have their registrations transferred to the new date or can ask for a full refund, while hotel reservations can also be moved or cancelled without penalty until June 10.

For registration for the World News Media Congress from September 17-19 and additional information, visit http://www.wan-ifra.org/spain2020.

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