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The World News Media Congress which explores themes including gender diversity and press freedom began in Durban on Wednesday

The 69th WAN-IFRA World News Media Congress and the 24th World Editors Forum began in Durban on Wednesday.

The event, said organisers, was the annual meeting point for the publishing industry, offering focused sessions and workshops on issues critical to a sustainable future.

The event draws chief executives, chief editors and advertising executives from news publishers and start-ups from more than 80 countries.

It also alerts journalists to emerging and major trends in news publishing and offers free round tables, workshops and practical tips for media professionals.

The conference’s first day on Wednesday began with a book launch – Apartheid Guns and Money: A Tale Of Profit by Hennie van Vuuren – hosted by the Press Club of South Africa.

The book, said the its description, was an exposé of the machinery created in defence of apartheid, including heads of states, arms dealers, aristocrats, plutocrats, senators, bankers, spies, journalists and members of secret lobby groups.

The book also addresses questions of unsolved murders and domestic complicity by South African business with the apartheid state, another theme discussed at length during the panel discussion.

The day’s sessions would also be dealing with Women in News; Media, innovation and sports; Pragmatic approaches to data; and Press Freedom.