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"The 'Third South Asian Free Media Conference,' which concluded [May 28, 2003], adopted a declaration emphasizing the need for achieving democratic order and realizing the responsibility of media persons to struggle collectively for democracy and freedom of expression. ... [The declaration] observed that an 'established tradition of press freedom [in India] is being threatened by a growing criminalization of politics and abuse of judicial practices. These factors weaken India's pluralistic civil society, ... sapping the foundations of democracy itself.' ...

"The conference, attended by about 100 media delegates from all over South Asia, resolved to 'uphold, collectively and individually, the system of multi-party, participatory democracy, freedom of expression, gender equality, and rights of minorities.' It also resolved to 'strive for peace in South Asia and ensure the diversion of resources from wasteful acquisition of arms to public interest projects.'

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