Commonwealth Press Union Biennial Conference and Editors' Forum

Event description

The media’s role in reporting the impact and aftermath of the Asian tsunami was a central issue for delegates attending the 46th Biennial Conference of the Commonwealth Press Union (CPU) in Sydney.

CPU membership strongly reflects nations forming part of the British Commonwealth, including several directly affected by the tsunami: India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, and the Maldives.

An early, sobering session saw editors from Malaysia, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives discussing how they reported on the devastation in their midst, confronting dilemmas of unprecedented magnitude. For example, they discussed how to deal with gruesome images and massive casualties with sensitivity, while coping with the loss and chaos at hand.

And delegates heard the remarkable story of the Banda Aceh newspaper that lost three-quarters of its staff in the tsunami, only to recommence publishing in six days.

Presentations covered a new youth newspaper in the Pacific Islands, issues of press freedom and political censorship, terrorism and the media, the impact of new privacy legislation and the newspaper’s future as a multi-faceted product. The following summaries recount a selection of the viewpoints presented and offer insights into the international newspaper industry.

Editor’s Note: Special thanks to INMA member Ross McPherson of Shepparton, Australia-based McPherson Media Group for preparing this executive summary for INMA.


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21-26 February 2005


Sydney, Australia