World Press Freedom Day, May 3, 2019
Dear Friends & Neighbors,
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Did you know that countries that have strong public service media enjoy higher levels of press freedom, higher voter turn out, and have healthier democracies? The United Nations General Assembly declared May 3 to be World Press Freedom Day or just World Press Day to raise awareness of the importance of freedom of the press. It’s a designated time to remind governments of their duty to respect and uphold the right to freedom of expression enshrined under Article 19 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and marking the anniversary of the Windhoek Declaration, a statement of free press principles put together by African newspaper journalists in Windhoek in 1991.
UNESCO also marks World Press Freedom Day each year by bringing together media professionals, press freedom organizations and UN agencies to assess the state of press freedom worldwide and discuss solutions for addressing challenges. Each conference is centered on a theme related to press freedom, including good governance, media coverage of terrorism, impunity and the role of media in post-conflict countries. This year, 2019, the theme is “Media for Democracy: Journalism and Elections In Times of Disinformation“
On 3 May 2019, UNESCO and the UN Department of Global Communications (DGC) celebrate the 26th edition of World Press Freedom Day at UNHQ in New York with a high-level event gathering UN Officials, Civil Society Organizations, Experts and Academia. Almost 100 events worldwide are expected to mark this important Day1.
The commemoration theme concerns the current challenges faced by the media in times of elections and the growing prevalence of disinformation, along with the media’s potential to support democracy, peace and reconciliation.
The 2019 theme is closely interlinked with the objectives of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as well as the African Union’s Agenda 2063, which seeks to promote “an Africa of good governance, democracy, respect for human rights, justice and the rule of law”. In this respect, Aspiration 3 of Agenda 2063 aims to ensure that freedom of expression prevails. Similarly, SDG 16 recognizes the importance of public access to information and fundamental freedoms, which includes freedom of expression.
In the video “World Press Freedom Day 2019 (3 May)-Message from UN Secretary-General“, below:
In the video “World Press Freedom Day: Journalism and Elections in Times of Disinformation“, below:
World Press Freedom day is celebrated on May 3 each year, but the realities faced by journalists in many parts of the world are increasingly hostile. A new report by an international media watchdog group says press freedoms deteriorated in 2019, fueled in part by increasing aggression toward journalists. Why does a free press matter? VOA’s Jesusemen Oni has more from this week’s “Plugged In, with Greta Van Susteren.” in the video “Press Freedom Under Fire Worldwide“, below:
“All freedoms start with press freedom.” VOA journalists around the world talk about their experiences and why a free press matters. In the video “World Press Freedom Day: VOA Journalists on Why A Free Press Matters“, below:
Gathered, written, and posted by Windermere Sun-Susan Sun Nunamaker
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