Manmohan Singh to Open World Newspaper Congress

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has agreed to open the World Newspaper Congress, World Editors Forum and Info Services Expo 2009, the global summit meetings of the world’s press, to be held in Hyderabad, India, from 22 to 25 March next, a WAN release said.

The events, organised by the World Association of Newspapers and hosted by the Indian Newspaper Society, are expected to draw 2,000 newspaper publishers, managing directors, CEO, chief editors and other senior newspaper executives at a time when the global financial crisis is putting additional pressure on advertising-dependent media.

The Congress takes the theme “Newspapers: A Multi-Media, Growth Business,” while the theme of the Forum is, “Doing More with Less: the New Newsroom Challenge.”

“As newspapers all over the world continue to develop the exploitation of their content through digital media, WAN has decided to again focus on the dual challenge facing press companies everywhere: maintaining and expanding their core, print products, while seizing all available opportunities to extend their brands, audience and revenues through the new distribution platforms,” said Timothy Balding, the CEO of WAN.

“At the same time, in recognition of the new pressures brought about by the global economic crisis, we have added new sessions on cost-cutting and achieving greater business efficiency.”

“Our events will also be a great opportunity for many participants to discover India, the world’s biggest democracy, where the press is not only free and fiercely independent – but undergoing extraordinary growth,” he said.

First confirmed speakers for the Congress include: David Kirk, CEO of Fairfax Media, Australia; Olivier Fleurot, Executive Chairman, Publicis Worldwide; Tim Brooks, Managing Director, Guardian News & Media, United Kingdom; Ana Paula Pessoa, Vice President, Corporate and Strategic Resources, Infoglobo, Brazil; Ravi Dhariwal, CEO Publishing, Bennet, Coleman & Co (Times Group), India; William Powers, Media Columnist, National Journal, United States; and Gerd Finkbeiner, Chairman, manroland AG, Germany.

The events, as always, will be accompanied by a rich social programme, tours, meetings with local and international political, business and cultural leaders, and much more.

A release of a major new research project, “Newspaper publishing: creating a sustainable future”, undertaken by PricewaterhouseCoopers, in cooperation with WAN. Based on surveys of consumers, publishers and advertisers, enriched by industry and company reports, analyst reviews and PwC expertise, the presentation will include an examination of how newspaper publishers react to changing consumer behaviour. It will also take into account a range of new technologies which influence the way that consumers interact, communicate and seek information and how these changes are impacting newspapers.

The Paris-based WAN, the global organisation for the newspaper industry, defends and promotes press freedom and the professional and business interests of newspapers world-wide. Representing 18,000 newspapers, its membership includes 77 national newspaper associations, newspaper companies and individual newspaper executives in 102 countries, 12 news agencies and 11 regional and world-wide press groups.

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