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The World Press Freedom Committee has provided leadership for more than 30 years in the fight against licensing of journalists, mandatory codes of conduct, mandatory tasks for journalists and other news controls.

Originally created to wage an eventually successful global struggle in and around intergovernmental organizations to beat back authoritarian proposals for a restrictive “new world information and communication order,” the WPFC has gone on to:

  • Administer the only global program for systematically monitoring press freedom issues at UNESCO, the U.N. and other intergovernmental organizations on behalf of press freedom groups.
  • Produce in 1985 the first comprehensive survey of killings, arrests and harassment of journalists, showing that licensing would not protect journalists.
  • Present the first world survey of journalism training opportunities for developing journalists.
  • Provide essential legal arguments to win the first decision by an international human rights court saying mandatory licensing of journalists violates human rights law.
  • Produce 56 major publications, including the first regionally oriented general journalism training manuals in local languages for journalists of the Caribbean and Eastern Europe and similar handbooks in English and French for African journalists.
  • Propose and administer the first joint program by world free press groups to provide local lawyers for journalists facing prosecution in national courts, through a Fund Against Censorship.
  • Present a study showing how restrictive principles in generally beneficial human rights conventions can be used to hobble journalists and news media.
  • Produce the first surveys of practical needs of emerging free press outlets in the former Soviet bloc, and hold the first general conference of NGOs on mobilizing resources to meet these needs.

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