Defending Press Freedom in the 21st Century

Over 90 people attended this event, which was organized in coordination with UNESCO’s World Press Freedom Day 2011 conference which took place in Washington, DC, May 1-3, 2011 at the Newseum and National Press Club. This is the first time since World Press Freedom Day was established nearly 20 years ago that the United States hosted the celebration. This event brought the overall discussion to Capitol Hill to mark the first anniversary of the Daniel Pearl Press Freedom Act, which calls for a focus on freedom of the press issues in the State Department’s annual human rights reports on countries. The discussion focused on the important role independent media play in democratic and economic development worldwide, with an emphasis on the innovative media platforms that are democratizing how people voice their opinions and access information – and how these must be protected.



Wael Abbas

Egyptian Journalist and Blogger

Mariane Pearl

Journalist and author; widow of Daniel Pearl

Irina Bokova

Director General, UNESCO

Representative Adam Schiff

U.S. House of Representatives

Joined by:

Esther Brimmer

Assistant Secretary of State,

International Organization Affairs

Michael Posner

Assistant Secretary of State,

Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor

Moderated by:

David Killion

U.S. Ambassador to UNESCO

Hosted by:

Carl Gershman

President, National Endowment for Democracy

The Congressional Caucus for Freedom of the Press was organized in May 2006. The bipartisan, bicameral caucus is co-chaired by Representatives Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Michael Pence (R-IN), and Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN). It aims to advance press freedom by creating a forum to combat and condemn media censorship and the persecution of journalists worldwide.

The Center for International Media Assistance, an initiative of the National Endowment for Democracy, brings together a broad range of media experts with the goal of strengthening the support for and improving the effectiveness of media assistance programs by providing information, building networks, and conducting research on the indispensable role independent media play in creating sustainable democracies around the world.