MEAA secretary Paul Murphy addressing the Press Freedom dinner
The inaugural Melbourne Press Freedom Dinner has raised in excess of $20,000 to support media workers and their families experiencing emergency, war and hardship in the Asia-Pacific region.
The money was raised from event sponsorship, a silent auction of photographs and drawings, a raffle of Virgin Australia travel vouchers and individual guest donations on the night.
The proceeds will go to the Media Safety and Solidarity Fund, which is administered through the International Federation of Journalists (Asia-Pacific) in collaboration with the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) and the Media Safety and Solidarity board.
The Fund, which was established in 2005 as an expression of inter-regional support and comradeship, also funds the education of the children of media workers killed in the course of their work.
Last year, the Asia-Pacific became the world’s deadliest region with 39 journalists killed. Of these, 35 were directly targeted for their work. These grim statistics account for nearly a third of all journalists killed around the world in 2014.
MEAA CEO Paul Murphy, who spoke at the dinner, said the funds raised will go to support journalists facing hardship in Nepal after the Gorka earthquake and in Vanuatu after Cyclone Pam.
“The monies raised on the night are a great way of supporting journalist colleagues and their families who are facing the effects of war, natural disaster and threats to their safety. Our thanks to everyone who dug deep on the night,” he said.
Melbourne Press Club CEO Mark Baker said the event had been a great success and thanked sponsors and guests who generously supported the evening.
“I would like to acknowledge, in particular, the support of sponsors AAP, ANZ, Bespoke Approach, Fairfax Media, Minter Ellison, Seven Melbourne and the Windsor Hotel,” Baker said.
The Melbourne Press Freedom Dinner was jointly hosted by the Melbourne Press Club, the MEAA, the IFJ and the Walkely Foundation.