Press Freedom Day

World Press Freedom Day was proclaimed by the UN  in December 1993, following the recommendation of UNESCO’s General Conference. Since then, 3 May, the anniversary of the Declaration of Windhoek is celebrated worldwide as World Press Freedom Day. It is an opportunity to:

  • celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom;
  • assess the state of press freedom throughout the world;
  • defend the media from attacks on their independence;
  • pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

Press Freedom Day

The annual UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize ceremony will take place on 3 May 2015 at the National Library of Latvia in Riga. The winner is Syrian journalist and human rights activist, Mazen Darwish, who is currently imprisoned.

UNESCO marks World Press Freedom Day each year by bringing together media professionals, press freedom organisations and UN agencies to assess the state of press freedom worldwide and discuss solutions for addressing challenges. Each conference is centred on a theme related to press freedom, including good governance, media coverage of terrorism, impunity and the role of media in post-conflict countries.

The 2011 World Press Freedom Day celebration was held in Washington, D.C., USA on May 1–3. It was the first time the United States had hosted the World Press Freedom Day celebration. The theme of the event was 21st Century Media: New Frontiers, New Barriers. The event affirmed fundamental principles of media freedom in the digital age—the ability of citizens to voice their opinions and access diverse, independent information sources—20 years after the original declaration was made in Windhoek, Namibia.

Currently, Media freedom is fragile — journalists are being harassed or killed for doing their work, publications are being censored or shut down, and laws are being passed which criminalize free speech.

World Press Freedom Day and the themes:

  • 2014 : Paris, France – “Media Freedom for a Better Future:Shaping the post-2015 Development Agenda”
  • 2013 : San José, Costa Rica – “Safe to Speak: Securing Freedom of Expression in All Media”
  • 2012 : Tunis, Tunisia – “New Voices: Media Freedom Helping to Transform Societies”
  • 2011 : Washington D.C., USA – “21st Century Media: New Frontiers, New Barriers-“
  • 2010 : Brisbane, Australia – “Freedom of information: the right to know”.
  • 2009 : Doha, Qatar – “Dialogue, mutual understanding and reconciliation.”
  • 2008 : Maputo, Mozambique – “Celebrating the fundamental principles of press freedom.”
  • 2007 : Medellín, Colombia – “The United Nations and the freedom of press.”
  • 2006 : Colombo, Sri Lanka – “The media as drivers of change.”
  • 2005 : Dakar, Senegal – “Media and Good Governance”.
  • 2004 : Belgrade, Serbia – “Who decides how much information?”.
  • 2003 : Kingston, Jamaica – “The Media and Armed Conflict.”
  • 2002 : Manila, Philippines – “Covering the War on Global Terrorism.”
  • 2001 : Windhoek, Namibia – “Combating racism and promoting diversity: the role of free press.” Held jointly with the commemoration of the 10th Anniversary of the Windhoek Declaration. The occasion was marked by the signing of the African Charter on Broadcasting.
  • 2000 : Genève, Switzerland – “Reporting the News in a Dangerous World: The Role of the Media in conflict settlement, Reconciliation and peace-building.”
  • 1999 : Bogota, Colombia – “Turbulent Eras: Generational Perspectives on Freedom of the Press.”
  • 1998 : London, England – “Press Freedom is a Cornerstone of Human Rights.”
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