3 May: World Press Freedom Day
World Press Freedom Day was observed worldwide on 3 May 2017 with the theme ‘Critical Minds for Critical Times: Media’s role in advancing peaceful, just and inclusive societies’.
Speaking on the occasion, UN Secretary-General António Guterres called for an end to all crackdowns against journalists, as a free press can advance peace and justice for all. He also stressed on the importance of having leaders who will defend the free media and counter the prevailing misinformation.
The day was commemorated with an event and the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize Ceremony, which was jointly organised by UNESCO and the Government of Indonesia along with the Press Council of Indonesia in Jakarta, Indonesia.
• The four-day long event that began on 1 May would conclude on 4 May 2017.
• Imprisoned Eritrean-Swedish journalist, Dawit Isaak has been chosen to receive the 2017 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize.
• This year marks the twentieth anniversary of the World Press Freedom prize. It was created in 1997.
• The prize is named after Guillermo Cano Isaza, a Colombian journalist who was assassinated in front of his newspaper’s office in Bogota on 17 December 1986.
• Besides this, the day witnessed a panel discussion with the theme ‘Safety of Women Journalists in Conflict situations’.
• It was jointly organised by the Permanent Missions of France, Greece and Lithuania, on behalf of the Group of Friends on the Protection of Journalists.
• The day was established by the UN General Assembly in December 1993, following the recommendation of UNESCO's General Conference.
• The day marks the anniversary of the Windhoek Declaration, a statement of press freedom principles put together by African newspaper journalists, which was produced at a UNESCO seminar that was held from 29 April to 3 May 1991.
• The main objective behind establishing the day is 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 while being on duty.
The Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi hailed the social media as an active medium of engagement on the occasion and said that the World Press Freedom Day is a day to reiterate our unwavering support towards a free and vibrant press, which is vital in a democracy.