Star-studded New Year press freedom gig

NEW THREATS to Media Freedom is the title of the all-day conference on January 26 2008, organised by LFB and the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom (CPBF), with several big names from the world of journalism.

BBC Gaza correspondent Alan Johnston will be at the session on bias and censorship in war reporting, which is chaired by LBF committee's own Alex Klaushofer, and also features Aidan White, General Secretary of the International Federation of Journalists, and the NUJ Ethics Council's Chris Frost

The law and freedom to report, anti-terror laws, FOI Act, Human Rights Act and libel laws, will be covered by LFB committee's Heather Brooke, FOI expert and author of Your Right to Know, as well as libel lawyer Mark Stephens and Jo Glanville from Index on Censorship.

After a lunch break, which will have to be very short to fit in all those speakers, there's a look at insidious commercial pressures on press freedom, and how the growing concentration of media ownership and general market pressures are narrowing the spectrum of the news. Panellists include Victoria Brittain, freelance journalist; Peter Wilby, Media Guardian columnist and former editor of the Independent on Sunday, Granville Williams of the CPBF and the Freelance's Mike Holderness on internet censorship.

NUJ General Secretary Jeremy Dear and Tony Lennon, president of broadcasting union BECTU, will talk on the battles to defend quality journalism and cuts to the BBC. The final session is hosted by Newsnight reporter Paul Mason and may feature other celebrity names as well: details will follow. We also hope to have an exiled journalist from Iraq or Afghanistan speaking.

The conference is provisionally at Headland House, the NUJ head office in Gray's Inn Road, London WC1 - although it may have to be at a bigger London venue. For NUJ members, admission is provisionally £10 a head including lunch, with possibly cheaper concessions, especially for students. Watch this space for updates.

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