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Ladina Heimgartner Elected President of WAN-IFRA

Wednesday 05. June 2024 - During WAN-IFRAs 75th WAN-IFRAs World News Media Congress in Copenhagen, Denmark, Ladina Heimgartner, Head Media Ringier AG & CEO Ringier Media Switzerland, was elected President of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers.

On this occasion, Board Members renewed the WAN-IFRA Executive Board and four executives from leading news media organisations were also elected to new terms on the Supervisory Board of WAN-IFRA.
Ladina Heimgartner was elected President by WAN-IFRA members on Monday at the World News Media Congress in Copenhagen, Denmark. [Over 900] publishers, editors, journalists, and senior news executives from [80] countries attended the events, which continues through Wednesday, May 29.
Ladina Heimgartner succeeds Fernando de Yarza López-Madrazo, President of Henneo Media, elected President of WAN-IFRA in 2019. Together with Agnes Kalekje Nguna (The Star Newspaper, Kenya), Mariam Mammen Mathew (Manorama Online, India), Werner Zitzmann (ami – Asociación Colombiana de Medios de Información), who were elected at the same meeting, will form the new Executive Board of WAN-IFRA for the two coming years with the the Vice President Stig Ørskov, (JP/Politiken Media Group, Denmark), the Treasurer Paul Verwilt (Mediahuis NV, Belgium), Sandy Prieto-Romualdez (Inquirer Group of Companies, The Philippines) and Martha Ramos Sosa, Chair WAN-IFRA’s World Editors Forum (Organización Editorial Mexicana – OEM).
The Executive Board will work alongside and report to the organisation’s larger Supervisory Board, which represents the country members of WAN-IFRA. Members elected three other executives from leading news media organisations at the meeting to new terms on the Supervisory Board of WAN-IFRA.
“Media plays a vital role in shaping our global narrative. Facing the mostly uncharted future, it is crucial that we, as an industry, stick together, keep on fighting for the freedom and right to seek and tell the truth, that we learn from and support each other,” said Ladina Heimgartner. “WAN-IFRA is the leading global media association. It is home to 3.000 publishing companies and has an essential role in defending the freedom of the press, sharing knowledge, facilitating dialogue and ensuring that our collective voice remains strong and clear. I feel very honoured to chair this wonderful organisation”, added Heimgartner.
Four New Board Members elected in Copenhagen.
Four new WAN-IFRA supervisory Board members were elected in Copenhagen. They are Noora Alanne, Director of new Growth at Medialiitto (Finland) and incoming Chair of WAN-IFRA’s Global Alliance for Media Innovation; Patricia Fonseca (editor-in-chief Media Tejo, Portugal); Denis Pierrard (Directeur general IPM Group, Belgium); and Werner Zitzmann (Colombia).
WAN-IFRA’s directors and management express their gratitude to the six Directors retiring from the Supervisory Board. Six Board members are retiring the Supervisory Board: Gerald Grünberger (CEO VÖZ, Austria), Valdo Lehari Jr (CEO and Publisher Reutlinger General-Anzeiger Verlags, Germany), Cristina Soares (Executive Board Member Publico, Portugal), Daniel Van Wylick (Rossel, Belgium) and Rolf Dyrnes Svendsen who chaired the Global Alliance for Media Innovation since 2016
Board Resolutions at the 75th World News Media Congress.
At the conclusion of their annual meeting in Copenhagen, the Board of Directors of WAN-IFRA issued key resolutions addressing critical issues in the global media landscape; WAN-IFRA expressed strong support for independent media in Ukraine, condemned the killing of journalists in Gaza, and called for greater accountability. They also highlighted the importance of professional media representative bodies and condemned Georgia’s “Foreign Influence” law, urging its repeal and calling for international pressure on the Georgian government to uphold media freedom and democratic values.
The first key resolution reaffirmed the importance of independent news media and journalism as cornerstones of democracy, especially during electoral processes. It condemned all forms of violence, intimidation, harassment, and censorship against journalists. The resolution called on governments to uphold press freedom and ensure the safety and security of journalists through robust legal frameworks, adequate training and resources for law enforcement, and prosecution of perpetrators of attacks against journalists.
The second resolution reaffirmed WAN-IFRA’s solidarity with Ukraine’s independent media amidst the ongoing conflict with Russia. It committed to pursuing efforts to provide resources and support to the Ukrainian media sector through fundraising initiatives, donor-funded engagements, and partnerships with relevant local, regional, and international actors. The resolution also pledged to work with Ukrainian partners to facilitate a dynamic future for the country’s media sector based on quality journalism, sustainable business operations, and high governance and journalist safety standards.
The third resolution reiterated condemnation of the killing of journalists in Gaza and called for greater accountability to reduce impunity for crimes against journalists. It outlined plans to engage in support initiatives to assist journalists and media organisations in Gaza in rebuilding the sector and pursuing quality independent journalism. Additionally, it supported efforts towards creating an independent media publishers’ association for Palestinian media.
The fourth resolution underlined the importance of professional media representative bodies as vital stakeholders in strengthening democratic and economic development. It sought to incorporate greater support for existing and new media representative bodies in WAN-IFRA’s Media Freedom programming and strategic agenda. The resolution also advocated coordination with WAN-IFRA member associations on media freedom and development issues.
The fifth resolution expressed alarm at the recent passage of the “Foreign Influence” law in Georgia, which poses a significant threat to media freedom and civil society. It called for the immediate repeal of the law and urged the Georgian government to uphold its commitments to media freedom and democratic values. The resolution also urged European and international leaders to communicate to the Georgian government that implementing this law will hinder the country’s progress toward EU membership
WAN-IFRA reports increased membership and positive results for 2023.
The year 2023. For the seventh consecutive year, WAN-IFRA ended its financial year with a positive result of 130.492 euros from global revenue of 9.702 million euros.
In 2023, 11,500 media professionals registered for the WAN-IFRA series of events, workshops, training, and coaching sessions.WAN-IFRA’s sustained participation in these events, and in particular the good performance of its World News Media Congress in Taipei in June 2023, Digital Media Europe, International Newsroom Summit, Paris Forum, and various study tours, have resulted in WAN-IFRA exceeding its budget targets.
Despite the challenging economic climate, WAN-IFRA has signed up more than 80 new members for 2023, enabling it to consolidate member contributions at a stable level.
Finally, the signing of new media development contracts financed by European funds and the contribution of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to its Women in News programme have enabled WAN-FRA to confirm its pivotal role in international solidarity initiatives in support of the press.
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