Holiday Greetings From IFAJ President Lena Johansson

It has been a miserable year, but maybe we can see a light at the end of the tunnel? Let us hope that the stressful situation the pandemic has created can come to an end when the vaccine starts to be distributed throughout the world.
It’s been a long time since we had the opportunity to mee

t in person. And I’m afraid it’s going to be a while. Our colleagues in Denmark have really done everything to be able to arrange a congress in 2021 but came to the conclusion that travellers and sponsors still won’t be ready for an in-person meeting by next summer. Sadly, that means that we won’t have the opportunity to meet at a congress next year either and we are now trying to adjust the schedule of future congresses according to the new circumstances.

In the beginning of 2021, we will also start to plan for another e-congress and we are very eager for input to make it a great event. If you have any ideas about how we can make it both professionally useful and personally enjoyable, please don’t hesitate to contact someone in the Presidium or at the Global Office. Maybe you have connections to someone who could be an interesting speaker at a webinar? Or you know someone who might be interested in sponsoring our digital event? Would you like to help organize a session or two?

One of the very few advantages with the current situation is that the society seems to have realized how important agriculture and food production is. And the self-sufficiency level of food has been on top of the agenda in many countries during the last year.

Due to this, the importance of high-quality agriculture journalism has also been highlighted. During a crisis like this, it is especially crucial to get reliable news and counteract misinformation. And so the farming and food sector can function smoothly, professional journalists and communicators are vital.

In light of this, it is especially disappointing that some regimes and leaders have taken the pandemic as an excuse to introduce restrictions on freedom of the press. When Reporters Without Borders recently released the World Press Freedom Index, it was clear that some countries have restricted freedom of expression and even imprisoned journalists with reference to the pandemic. In fact, at least one of our members fell victim to such restrictions.

But I shouldn’t be too depressing. I also want to thank you all for my first six months as IFAJ President. It has been inspirational and gratifying, and IFAJ has been a real glimmer of light for me during this year. As difficult as this year has been around the world, so many people from IFAJ have brought people together, shared news and insights and been examples of hope to each other.

I wish you all a Better New Year 2021 and hope to meet you digitally or personally soon again!

Winter in Sweden: Rudolph with friends, no doubt on their way to Father Christmas. Photo by: Gunnar Andersson