Volume 1, Issue 9 (Originally Published on 30 April 2012)
May 3, 2012 – World Press Freedom Day
This Thursday will be World Press Freedom Day, a day celebrating the importance of freedom of the press and raising awareness for the protection of press freedom under art 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The date marks the ninth anniversary of the UN General Assembly’s adoption of the Windhoek Declaration of 1991. The Declaration was produced by African journalists and consisted of a statement of the fundamental principles of press freedom, requiring the establishment and fostering of independent, pluralistic and free press for the development of democratic nations. It reported on the problems facing the impartiality of African press, such as press intimidation, censorship and imprisonment.
World Press Freedom Day serves as an occasion to commemorate journalists who have been assassinated for their political opinions, exposing corruption or killed while reporting in conflict areas. It raises awareness about the duty of governments to uphold the rule of law and to respect freedom of expression, noting that all citizens are robbed of their freedom of expression when one journalist’s right to report is violated. The day also serves to remind media professionals to evaluate the state of the press and professional legal and ethic standards. Each year, UNESCO marks the day by awarding the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize on an individual or organisation which has substantially contributed to the protection and/or promotion of press freedom of expression in the face of adversity. The award is conferred in honour of journalist Guillermo Cano Isaza, a Colombian journalist and editor who was assassinated in his office for exposing and denouncing the influence of Colombian drug traffickers on the country’s campaigns.
To find out more about this year’s celebration of World Press Freedom Day, visit http://www.unesco.org/new/en/communicat ion-and-information/flagship-project- activities/world-press-freedom- day/homepage/