Meetings No 23
Pressure on Meetings International
Atti Soenarso: “At this point, we do not believe our ears.”
Cover Story
Catherine Boissier, Astra Zeneca
“Meetings are a vital tool.”
Cities across Canada Are Attracting Global Meetings
Due in large part to academics and industry innovators across a variety of sectors.
The Cost of Not Thinking
Mark Turrell: Applying conscious thought makes a big difference.
Dubai Tourism Launches Sponsorship Scheme
Designed to empower leisure event organisers.
Economic Development
Dubai Expo 2020 to Deliver $33bn Boost to UAE Economy
Expo 2020 is a long-term investment in the future of the UAE.
Calgary’s BMO Centre Set for Expansion
Funding approved for a $500 million expansion.
Longterm Development
The Potential of Cambodia
Visothy So: “We want to attract a lot of meetings and events.”
Canada Is the First Country to Have a National AI Strategy
Canada is in the lead of a global AI race.
‘She Means Business’ Digs into Diversity at IMEX Frankfurt
Diversity and inclusion are the linchpin of ‘She Means Business’.
The Business and Power of Placemaking
Placemaking in the spotlight at IMEX.
IMEX Frankfurt Shines a Light on Diversity and Inclusion
“Diversity means diversity of people, minds, ideas, and approaches.”
IMEX Agency Directors Forum
A highly relevant and future-focused programme.
Emirates Working on AI-Powered Flight Assistant
“The advancement of the next wave in aviation innovation.”
How to Fireproof Your Productivity
Exponential gains in your exceptionality, productivity and impact.
Volvo Car Group, a Human-Centric Meeting Culture
Paul Welander: “It’s always best when you meet live; for me that’s a meeting.”
The Art of Taking the Chance
“Many of the participants said it was the best congress ever.”
business intelligence
The Future of cities
under the microscope in Brisbane.
big meetings
World leading ear, nose and throat surgeons
to head to Brisbane.
big meetings
secures Flight Centre’s 4500-strong Global Gathering.
significant achievements
AIM Group International’s Annual Report Shows Steady Growth for 2018
Increased EBITDA and overall turnover, diversification of the business, major events realised and acquired are among the flagship results.
BestCities Announces New Strategic Business Development Group Chairperson
Beverly Williamson, General Manager of Business Development and Bids at Melbourne Convention Bureau, has been appointed to the role.
economic boost
Business Events to Bring $112 Million to Brisbane
Brisbane will receive the economic boost through new business events set to take place in the city over the coming years.
business intelligence
Waikato Hosts Record-breaking Indigenous Scholars Conference
Hamilton hosted a historic NAISA conference hailed as a record-breaking meeting for indigenous scholars from around the world.
Business Intelligence
CWT Research Reveals 71 % of Business Travelers Embrace Innovation
Travelers from the Americas and Asia Pacific are more likely to favor travel innovation while Europeans remain more wary of changes.
Inaugural AC Forum & LCE Collaborative Learning Experience Takes Place in Glasgow
The Associations & Conference Forum and the Leading Centres of Europe has successfully delivered their collborative event at the SEC.
115 000 jobs since 2003
CTICC Shares 16 Years of Extraordinary Experiences
The venue has met or exceeded all goals set for it and marked its 16th birthday by listing 16 achievements that contributed to the success.
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Pressure on Meetings International

On 2 December 1766 Sweden became the first country in the world to have freedom of the press written into the constitution. The Swedish Freedom of the Press Act also broke ground for the principle of public access to information, which made it legal to publish and read public documents. The principle of public access is still a cornerstone of the Swedish Constitution.

During my over 40 years as a journalist, I have rarely been subjected to pressure. Some years ago, Ikea wanted to stop an article by trying to scare us with their size, but we published the feature anyway. Nothing happened. Now, while writing this column, we just decided on the cover image to the cover story. The interview took place in April in Gothenburg during the Association World Congress 2019 (AWC19) at the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre. Robert Cotter, our global reporter, based in London, flew in for three assignments. And our photographer Sara Appelgren, who we have been working together with for 17 years, took the train from Stockholm to meet with two of the interview persons. At this point, and from an editorial perspective, everything was fine. Then something happens.

As usual, we sent the article to the person we interviewed to avoid misunderstandings and factual errors. The communications director, not the interviewed person of the company, calls and claims that we cannot publish the article. She questions why we have a reporter from London, and why we didn’t work with a photographer from Gothenburg. Wait a minute, is this any of her business at all? Furthermore, the communications director states that the person we interviewed doesn’t recognise her answers. Of course, we always record all our interviews. Also, as promised, the interviewed woman received our questions in advance. We also made a site visit to the company she represents together with some of the delegates from the AWC2019.

Now, and still on the telephone, the communications person says that the person we interviewed is not entitled to talk about what she was talking to us about. How is it possible in our country that a communications director interferes in an article for a magazine that writes about the meetings and events industry? The interviewed person said, but not to us, that she got the impression that we should do an interview about meetings in Gothenburg. We did. And that is what the article is about. The communication director, still upset, says that we should not publish the article. All at once it is her decision and not ours. Suddenly it feels like we have ended up in a global company with internal problems that should not go over to us.

The communication director wants to come back with a proposal for a rewritten article. “But it will be much shorter. And why have you taken so many photos?” At this point, we do not believe our ears, but welcome her to come back with their changes. Are there any controversial issues in the article we are going to publish? Something that we feel we need to change to avoid standing with the shame of being convicted by The Swedish Press Council? No, actually not. The cover feature is a good story well worth publishing.