World Press Freedom Day’ is celebrated every year on May 3. It is one of the calendar events outlined, organised and promoted by the United Nations.
The significance of the day is to raise awareness of the importance of freedom of the press and 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.
This year’s World Press Freedom Day theme ‘Information as a Public Good’ serves as a call to affirm the importance of cherishing information as a public good, and exploring what can be done in the production, distribution and reception of content to strengthen journalism, and to advance transparency and empowerment while leaving no one behind.
The theme is of urgent relevance to all countries across the world.
It recognises the changing communications system that is impacting on our health, our human rights, democracies and sustainable development.
To underline the importance of information within our online media environment, World Press Freedom Day 2021 will highlight three key topics:
Steps to ensure the economic viability of news media;
Mechanisms for ensuring transparency of Internet companies;
Enhanced Media and Information Literacy (MIL) capacities that enable people to recognise and value, as well as defend and demand, journalism as a vital part of information as a public good.
World Press Freedom Day 2021 Global Conference
Organised annually since 1993, the Global Conference provides an opportunity to journalists, civil society representatives, national authorities, academics and the broader public to discuss emerging challenges to press freedom and journalists’ safety, and to work together on identifying solutions.
The 2021 Global Conference is hosted by UNESCO and the Government of Namibia.
It will run from 29 April to 3 May in Windhoek. The event will be a physical and digital experience combining virtual and in-presence participation.
The Conference will call for urgent attention to the threat of extinction faced by local news media around the world, a crisis worsened by the Covid-19 pandemic.
It will put forward ideas to tackle the challenges of our online media environment, push for more transparency of internet companies, strengthen safety of journalists, and improve their working conditions.
The conference will also call to support independent media and empower citizens to face these challenges.
Origin and Purpose
World Press Freedom Day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in December 1993, following the recommendation of UNESCO’s General Conference. Since then, 3 May, is celebrated worldwide as World Press Freedom Day.
After 30 years, the historic connection made between the freedom to seek, impart and receive information and the public good remains as relevant as it was at the time of its signing.
Special commemorations of the 30th anniversary are planned to take place during World Press Freedom Day International Conference.
May 3 acts as a reminder to governments of the need to respect their commitment to press freedom.
It is also a day of reflection among media professionals about issues of press freedom and professional ethics.
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;
And pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty .