The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) has been forced to call off the World Newspaper Congress and postpone the World Editors Forum, planned for Beirut from 7 to 10 June next, due to the failure of the Lebanese host organisation to meet its financial commitments.
"It is with immense disappointment that we are forced to call off our events in Beirut, but it was simply impossible to go ahead without the commitment of our Lebanese colleagues, who were responsible for security and other significant infrastructural and service expenses," said Gavin O'Reilly, President of WAN-IFRA. "We deeply regret that we cannot bring these events to Lebanon, particularly as this will cause immense inconvenience for our members, but this is not feasible without a local partner."
The local host, An-Nahar newspaper, has just informed WAN-IFRA that it was unable to provide the agreed funds to meet its obligations in the aftermath of the 2009 financial, economic and political crisis in the region. The cost of the venue, security and other local expenses was estimated to be 1.6 million euros and could not be covered by registration fees alone.
The World Editors Forum will be rescheduled from 6 to 8 October next, to be held in conjunction with the IFRA Expo in Hamburg, Germany, which runs from 4 to 6 October. Both Congress and Editors Forum delegates will be invited to attend the rescheduled event, which will feature key elements scheduled for Beirut, including the Golden Pen of Freedom presentation, World Press Trends update, and other presentations. Full details can be found at http://www.wefhamburg2010.com
The World Newspaper Congress, World Editors Forum and Info Services Expo will be held in 2011. Delegates to the Beirut events will also be invited to attend other WAN-IFRA events in 2010 dedicated to the issues that were on the Congress programme. Details of these and other events can be found at http://www.wan-ifra.org/events
Source: WAN-IFRA press release