One of the themes the Centers will be working on is how to create the best possible conditions for press freedom all over the world. This is an area of particular interest for both the Centers and the School of Journalism at Columbia. It is an enormous project, and in Istanbul as part of the center’s official launch, we propose to take on one defined aspect of it. This event is supported by The Saul and Janice Poliak Center for the Study of First Amendment Issues at the Graduate School of Journalism.
In many places that traditionally have not had complete press freedom, the advent of the Internet has enabled new online news organizations as a significant part of the independent press. We are inviting a group of people who operate such news organizations with distinction, from all over the world, along with some important thinkers who are interested in the phenomenon, to spend a day together discussing what, individually and collectively, these online independent news organizations need—journalistically, economically, legally, technologically—to thrive to the greatest extent possible. Ideally, by the end of our day together we would have come to agreement to the extent that we might as a group be able to produce and sign a set of recommendations, which we would then pursue further.
The meeting will take place in November 2011. The discussion leaders are Sheila Coronel, a professor who heads the investigative program at Columbia Journalism School (and before that, as founder and head of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, a leading member of the group we are convening), and Nicholas Lemann, dean of the Journalism School.