The Global Network for a Free Media
The International Press Institute is a global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists. We are dedicated to the furtherance and safeguarding of press freedom, the protection of freedom of opinion and expression, the promotion of the free flow of news and information, and the improvement of the practices of journalism.
This institution allows all of us to immerse ourselves in an endless search to share and to test our professional and ethical values against the ever-increasing challenges of journalism.
Vuslat Dogan Sabanci, publisher, Hurriyet, IPI World Congress in Istanbul
The early years
In October 1950, 34 editors from 15 countries met at Columbia University in New York to form a global organisation dedicated to the promotion and protection of press freedom and the improvement of the practices of journalism.
The idea for such an organisation evolved in the aftermath of the Second World War. IPI was founded on the belief that a free press would contribute to the creation of a better world.
Today, IPI has grown into a global organisation with members in more than 120 countries. What began as a small project in the early 1950s has expanded to become a leading press freedom organisation.
The organisation has expanded from its humble beginnings, but its philosophy remains the same: freedom of expression is the right that protects all other rights and this freedom needs to be promoted and defended.
Our members are editors, media executives and leading journalists working for some of the world's most respected media. Moreover, in several countries IPI members have established National Committees. The reputation, commitment and dedication of our members are the main reasons behind the success of the organisation.
Being one of the world's oldest global press freedom organisations, IPI provides its members with an invaluable network of media contacts. These contacts have proven to be of great professional benefit to members.
Why press freedom matters
[IPI raises] awareness for press issues that would otherwise go unnoticed. Taiwan and its journalists want to thank you for your support over the last couple of years.
Albert Tsung-chieh Liu, head, Press Division, Taipei Economic & Cultural Office, Vienna
In too many countries, journalists continue to be persecuted for their reporting. Each year dozens are killed; still more are beaten, imprisoned, kidnapped, tortured or intimidated.
On many occasions, these deplorable acts are carried out by organised criminals, paramilitary groups and other elements in society who do not want to see their activities exposed. In some countries, such tactics of intimidation are also employed by the authorities.
Public officials often go to extreme lengths to suppress information that may reflect badly on them. They use censorship to conceal themselves from public scrutiny.
Citizens have a fundamental right to be fully informed on the performance of their representatives and only a free press can guarantee that the truth can find a voice.
IPI uses several instruments in its work to defend and promote press freedom. First and foremost, we are ready to intervene wherever press freedom is threatened.
Written protests are often the first response to press freedom violations. By protesting, IPI is seeking to bring the plight of journalists to the attention of the international community. They also express the solidarity of the IPI community with journalists who are victims of repression.
The use of protests forces repressive regimes to recognise that their actions will not be tolerated by the democratic world.
Our Press Freedom Fund allows us to react swiftly to violations. This fund gives us the means to undertake missions to countries where press freedom is under threat. Through the missions, we help provide legal representation and support in court cases, negotiate with governments and institutions, and lobby embassies to pressure governments that violate press freedom.
Our annual World Congress and General Assembly bring together top media representatives, politicians and academics. Organised each year in a different country, journalists attend these meetings to tell their stories and share their experiences. The World Congress also provides IPI members with an invaluable opportunity to form new professional contacts with colleagues from around the world.
In addition to these activities, IPI does extensive research on issues relevant to the media and circulates several publications on press freedom. We scrutinise media laws and provide governments with recommendations on how to bring their legislation in line with internationally accepted standards on freedom of expression.
Each year IPI publishes an authoritative report on media violations: the World Press Freedom Review. Members receive the annual Congress Report. In addition, special publications are issued such as the 50 World Press Freedom Heroes and the Kosovo News and Propaganda War.
International Press Institute
A-1010 Vienna, Austria
Tel: +43 1 512 90 11
Fax: + 43 1 512 90 14
Violence against journalists is an attack on the freedom of the press and tantamount to an attack on democracy. … I am glad to learn that a global network like the IPI provides support and endeavours to create a conducive situation towards the media persons to carry out their professional duties fearlessly.
Sushma Swaraj, Minister of Information and Broadcasting, India, IPI World Congress in New Dehli
A new ‘IPI’ is born
IPI’s fight on behalf of two Filipino-Chinese journalists in the early 1970s helped spare the lives of the men who were accused by Taiwanese authorities of treason for allegedly publishing articles favourable to the Communist cause. They were deported to Taiwan from the Philippines, where they published the Chinese Commercial News.
IPI protested their imprisonment in Taiwan and helped both men obtain visas to the United States. The Yuyitungs were so grateful for the lobbying that IPI did on their behalf that Rizal and his wife, Veronica Lim Yuyitung, named their daughter Ipi. She now lives in Canada.
In a tribute to Riza Yuyitung, who died in 2007, the family noted the brothers’ commitment to press freedom – and the values IPI stands for:
In the 60’s and 70’s, our father and his brother were given a choice to stand by their principles of press freedom or face the consequences. They chose to stand by their principles. Even after the guilty judgment, without hesitation, each selflessly declared full responsibility for the actions of the newspaper….