Three major debates will kick off the New Year for the London Press Club. The debates will begin with a high-profile panel examining the arguments over Freedom of the Press against the need for surveillance and access by investigators into emails. This will be followed by a joint event with a US Presidential voting lobby on an inside track from the primaries. Then the Press Club links up with the LSE for a forum on the Migrants and the Media: Reporting and Responsibilities on the Front Line.

London Press Club chairman Doug Wills said he was delighted that the Club was beginning 2016 with a continuation of the strong programme of events that had made 2015 such a success. The first event of the New Year will be the regular and popular First Tuesday social drinks evening at the Front Line Club. As last year, Gorkana will support this evening on Tuesday January 5 with free drinks for those attending at the beginning of the evening.

On Monday January 11 the London Press Club returns to Stationers’ Hall for a debate chaired by media columnist and pundit Roy Greenslade on “Press Freedom in a Surveillance State”. Panelists will include City University lecturer Heather Brooke, who was a leading figure in the MPs’ expenses scandal being exposed, and Evening Standard home affairs editor Martin Bentham whose work includes many exclusives based upon Freedom of Information investigations.

Club chairman Doug Wills said: Never has there been more passion from all sides about the conflicting demands of privacy, protecting sources and demands for full access for terrorism and crime investigators. Running parallel with this, there is concern from editors that the Royal Charter and political pressure for changing Freedom of Information access will threaten the historic British rights to a Free Press. It will be a fascinating debate.” The event, from 6.30pm, is being held in partnership with the Stationers’ and Newspaper Makers which has been a livery company for publishers for more than 600 years.”

On Wednesday January 27, days before the first Republican primary in Iowa, the Press Club joins with Republicans Overseas for a discussion and straw poll on the Presidential candidates. The forum with a panel of experts on the US elections will  take place at The Telegraph offices in Victoria.

On Thursday February 11 the Press Club teams up with LSE’s influential Polis department for a debate on the Media, Migrants and Reporting of Terrorism. Thepanel includes Independent editor Amol Rajan, Channel 4 News international editor Lindsey Hilsum and Telegraph photographer William Wintercross, who set up a charity to help Syrian refugees after covering the story. Discussion points include whether the media has represented the issues fairly and accurately, responsibilities for journalists when reporting live and the role of social media.

Last year saw full-houses for Press Club debates that included increasing diversity in sports journalism, the power of campaigning and the influence of the Press on the General Election. The Press Club Awards and the Press Ball, which raised £30,000 for the Journalists’ Charity, were also sell-outs.

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