The 5th World Forum on Free Media (WFFM) opened on Sunday night, August 7. Around 100 people were in attendance for the start of what is the first time the event has been held in the global north. It was hosted at l'Auditoire on St Laurent, which is also the location of Radio Centre-Ville 102.3.
Several people spoke at the launch, and a film was shown describing part of the Forum's history.
Overshadowing the event was the issue of many visas having been denied for people from around the world hoping to attend the World Social Forum, which begins on Tuesday, August 9. As of writing, the Canadian government has denied over 200 people travel visas, and some estimates put that number substantially higher.
At the WFFM launch, a statement from World Social Forum organizers and supporters to the Canadian government was read, asking for the visas to be granted. A version of the letter is available in French here.
After this, speakers at the WFFM launch spoke about international politics, grassroots media, the non-profit industrial complex, the history of the WFFM, and more.
A 30-minute film was shown, #4.1 FMML. (FMML is the French acronym for the WFFM, Forum mondiale des médias libres). The film, shown for the first time on Sunday outside of France, is about the World Charter of Free Media, which was finalized at the previous WFFM in 2015 in Tunis, Tunisia.
The World Forum on Free Media in Montreal runs until August 14 and registration is free. The program can be seen here.