Deputy Chairman Martyn Bond represented the London Press Club at this year’s annual meeting of the European Federation of Press Clubs. He prepared the following report on the event for the Board:
I attended the European Federation annual meeting on behalf of the London Press Club and met there with Ryszard Bankowicz and Jaroslaw Wlodarczyk from Warsaw, Isabelle Bourdet from Paris, Laurent Brihay from Brussels, Patricia Fonseca from Lisbon, Guy Mettan from Geneva, Serge Tonioni from Lyon and Astrid Zimmermann from Vienna. Our host was Gerhard Kneier of the Frankfurt Press Club.
On the recommendation of the city authorities, the Frankfurt Club had booked a hotel somewhat out of the town centre as there was a demonstration announced by “Occupy” in protest at the banking activities in the city. A massive police presence (outnumbering the demonstrators by about five to one) closed off the city centre for a couple of days, and in the Frankfurt Press Club’s new premises – just outside the “exclusion zone”- our meetings were not disrupted in any way.
The meeting afforded each Club the opportunity to describe its characteristics and main activities. I was able to do so for London, adding the invitation for continental colleagues to visit during the Olympics and make use of the Club’s facilities at Adam Street on conditions as displayed on the LPC website.
The Meeting also discussed ways in which the Federation could help support freedom of the media in European countries where it was under threat, such as Hungary, Belarus and Ukraine. Several Clubs then volunteered to “mentor” journalists from these countries in an attempt to strengthen their work and in the hope of attracting a larger number of Clubs to the next annual meeting of the Federation. This will take place in Brussels in April 2013.