On 03 May, every year, the world celebrates World Press Freedom Day. This day has been formally recognized by the United Nations General Assembly. The objective of celebrating this day is to promote freedom of the press, reiterate the importance of press and the role of media. The celebration also acts like a reminder to the nations and their governments of their commitments to ensure the basic right of freedom of speech & expression incorporated under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Journalists and media professionals all across the globe take the World Press Freedom Day as an opportunity to highlight and discuss the issues and aspects related to freedom of press.
Background / History of the World Press Freedom Day
It all started with the Windhoek Declaration for the Development of a Free, Independent and Pluralistic Press in Namibia. A statement of press freedom principles made by African newspaper journalists in Windhoek city which came to be known as the “Windhoek Declaration”. The Declaration was produced at a 1991 UNESCO Seminar on independent and pluralistic African press.
The Windhoek Declaration gained wide scale popularity and finally led to official adoption of its declaration date 03 May as the World Press Freedom Day by the United Nations General Assembly in the year 1993.
Importance of the World Press Freedom Day
- World Press Freedom Day celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom.
- It assess the state of press freedom throughout the world.
- It defend the media from attacks on their independence.
- World Press Freedom Day pays tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty.
- It is also a day of remembrance for those journalists who lost their lives in the pursuit of a story.
Theme of World Press Freedom Day 2021
Theme of World Press Freedom Day 2021 is Keeping Power In Check.
A global campaign is being launched by UNESCO with the central theme – “Keeping Power in Check” in an increasingly complex media landscape. Events scheduled ahead of this event includes a High Level Dialogue on Press Freedom and Tackling Disinformation in the COVID-19 context. The events will be conducted via webinars and online discussions through various social media platforms.
The sub-themes for the year 2020 are as follows:
- Safety of Women and Men Journalists and Media Workers
- Independent and Professional Journalism free from Political and Commercial Influence
- Gender Equality in All Aspect of the Media
World Press Freedom Conference
World Press Freedom Conference is an annual global event which provides a platform for media professionals, civil society members, government officials, relevant stakeholders and free-press enthusiasts to discuss the emerging challenges and issues which affects freedom of press and safety of media professionals. This also gives them an opportunity to explore solutions to these emerging problems. The Conference was first held in 1993 and since then it has taken shape of an annual event
World Press Freedom Conference 2021
- Host Country: Namibia
- Event Date: 29 April – 03 May 2021
- Venue: Windhoek
World Press Freedom Day Quotes
“Freedom of the Press, if it means anything at all, means the freedom to criticize and oppose.” ― George Orwell
“Freedom of speech is unnecessary if the people to whom it is granted do not think for themselves.” ― Mokokoma Mokhonoana
“You can’t pick and choose which types of freedom you want to defend. You must defend all of it or be against all of it.”
― Scott Howard Phillips
“Be passionate about what you write, believe in your ability to convey timeless ideas, and let no one tell you what what you’re capable of.” ― Christina Westover
“Say what you wish about media in the Arab world, but say it knowing that no media channel in the world is absolutely free.” ― Aysha Taryam
“More and more people are saying ‘no’ to government lies, corporate greed, and a slavish media. The silenced majority is finding its voice.” ― Amy Goodman
“The freedom of the human mind is recognized in the right to free speech and free press.” ― Calvin Coolidge
“Freedom of the press is the mortar that binds together the bricks of democracy ― and it is also the open window embedded in those bricks.” ― Shashi Tharoor
“Freedom of the press belongs to the people of a nation, not to the owners of publications.” ― A. J. Liebling