WORLD: WAN postpones annual congress, forum

Tighter travel and conference budgets force newspaper conference's delay

The Times of India
Thursday, January 22, 2009

The World Association of Newspapers has decided to postpone its World Newspaper Congress, World Editors Forum and Info Services Expo, scheduled to be held in Hyderabad, India from 22 to 25 March, until December, due to the impact of the global financial downturn on newspaper companies.

"These events have been hugely successful in recent years, with growing participation and great programmes. We want our first Congress and Forum in India, the world's biggest democracy and a flourishing press market, to continue this trend. But the economic conditions simply don't allow that at this precise moment," said Timothy Balding, CEO of the Paris-based WAN.

"The economic crisis has hit travel and conference budgets and has had a profound impact on participation in the events. Our belief is that newspaper companies will, by necessity, learn to live with the crisis over the year and be more willing to invest again in conferences and travel by the end of the year." The events, hosted by the Indian Newspaper Society, are now to be held from 30 November to 3 December, subject to confirmation.

Last year's event drew more than 1,800 participants from 113 countries to Göteborg, Sweden, a record for the 61-year old conference.

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.