Remarks of U.S. Consul General Jennifer McIntyre for the Poynter Institute Journalism Workshop

CHENNAI: Good Morning!

On behalf of the U.S. Consulate, Chennai, I’d like to thank Howard and the entire Poynter team for traveling here for this series of workshops.

I would also like to thank Poynter’s local partner organizations – M.O.P. Vaishnav College for Women in Chennai; The Kerala Press Academy in Kochi; and The Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media, in Bangalore – for all of the support that you have provided to ensure the success of these workshops.

Finally, I thank you, the participants in this workshop, for your eagerness to learn and contribute and for the time that you have spared to be here today.

With World Press Freedom Day just around the corner, it is appropriate that we gather here this week to discuss ways to work together to strengthen the field of journalism.

Journalism is the act of bringing information and opinions into the public arena.  A free, pluralistic, and independent news media – on all platforms – provides avenues for discussion and a path to economic and social development.

As Secretary of State John Kerry said, “World Press Freedom Day is an annual occasion to recognize, honor, and underscore the essential role of independent media in fostering and protecting freedom of expression and democratic principles.

In the United States, we hold press freedom as a fundamental component of our democratic fabric, enshrined in the First Amendment to our Constitution.”

Freedom of expression is an essential pillar of governance more broadly, because this right enables as many citizens as possible to contribute to – as well as monitor and implement – public decisions.

But journalism today faces many new challenges.  The rise of the internet and social media has produced a new set of players.  New actors have taken the stage, and traditional media is wrestling with this brave world of information sharing.  Balancing the right to free expression with privacy and security can be challenging.

This year,  World Press Freedom Day will focus on three inter-related themes:

  • the media’s importance in development;
  • safety of journalists and the rule of law;
  • and the sustainability and integrity of journalism.

The workshop that you are about to embark upon will touch upon all three of these critical realms.

I am pleased to see so many journalists and journalism educators from the United States and India coming together to discuss these important topics.

I believe that these workshops highlight the growing, deep-rooted, people-to-people ties between the United States and India, and the robust collaboration that takes place outside of the government sphere.

I once again thank Poynter, all of our affiliated partners, and the participants for joining us today, and I wish you all the best in your journalistic endeavors.