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Jeremy Corbyn to mark World Press Freedom Day at NUJ event

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will speak on a panel to mark World Press Freedom Day on Friday.

The National Union of Journalists is hosting the event at the Free Word Centre in Farringdon, central London.

Friday marks the 26th World Press Freedom Day, which was launched by the UN General Assembly in 1993.

The union said the event would provide “an opportunity to celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom, assess the state of press freedom throughout the world and pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty”.

Corbyn will join NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet and a number of other panel speakers yet to be confirmed.

The Labour leader attended the funeral of murdered journalist Lyra McKee on Wednesday alongside other political leaders including Prime Minister Theresa May and Irish Taioseach (Prime Minister) Leo Varadkar.

Corbyn said afterwards the funeral was “deeply moving”, adding: “It was clear how loved and respected she was by all who knew her.”

At the last Labour Party conference in September, Corbyn spoke of the need to “protect the freedom of the press to challenge unaccountable power”.

But, he also claimed a free press in this country “has far too often meant the freedom to spread lies and half-truths and to smear the powerless, not take on the powerful”.

Tickets are now on sale at £10 for the NUJ event, with all money going towards the International Federation of Journalists’ Safety Fund.

The fund offers financial assistance in a range of urgent situations faced by journalists including threats, violence, prosecution, settlement in exile and illness.

The main World Press Freedom Day event is being held this year by UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia.

The three-day event running from Wednesday to Friday will be attended by UNESCO director-general Audrey Azoulay and a number of high-level government representatives, to discuss the overall theme of the role of media in elections and democracy.

The event will also host an academic conference on the safety of journalists, while around 100 national events will be held around the world to mark the day.

Picture: Brian Lawless/Pool via Reuters

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