The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) has decided to hold its general assembly in the western Turkish city of İzmir. More than 100 journalists from 45 countries in Europe are scheduled to meet in the historic town on June 13-14.
Beating several candidates including Paris, Vienna, and Athens, İzmir has been picked as the host city of the upcoming congress of the EFJ, which is Europe’s largest journalism organization with more than 320,000 members.
The next annual congress will be held in İzmir’s historic Gas Factory, a 160-year-old industrial-plant-turned-cultural center, on June 13-14 in tandem with the Local Media Summit.
EFJ President Mogens Blicher Bjerregård noted that the congress will be an opportunity for the international journalism community to learn from the experiences of their colleagues in Turkey.
“We hail our colleagues who reinforced their organizations, working for gender justice and equal opportunity for the youth, rejuvenating themselves and sticking to journalism even in these challenging times,” Bjerregård added.
EFJ’s executive board member Mustafa Kuleli said that the upcoming EFJ congress will be a “unique opportunity” for showcasing the importance of independent journalism for democracies and for “our European colleagues to stand in solidarity with Turkey’s journalists.”
“The right destination”
Mayor Tunç Soyer also published a message, voicing his pleasure to host Europe’s leading journalists in İzmir, which he described as “the right destination” for such an event.”
“Hermagoras, the philosopher who provided the roots of the ‘5 W’s’ used widely in journalism, had lived in Temnos, an ancient town near İzmir’s district of Menemen, some 2,100 years ago,” Soyer reminded. Stressing that the International Local Media Summit will hopefully create new capacities for local journalism in the region, Soyer added: “When İzmir is looked at through the prism of İstanbul, the issues of our city may seem like minor details. Actually, just like in farming, the local aspect is crucial in journalism, too.”