World Press Freedom Day or World Press Day is announced by the United Nations General Assembly on 3rd May to spread awareness about the importance of Freedom of Press in functioning, information providing, its significance and to awaken the government of its duty to uphold and respect the right to freedom of expression. According to the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), at least 95 journalists were killed or lost their lives in 2018 during the course of their work. The number of deaths is higher than in 2017, but not higher than 2006 that was 155.
The 26th celebration of World Press Freedom Day in 2019 is lead by UNESCO, the African Union Commission and the Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.
World Press Freedom Day 2019: Theme
The theme of World Press Freedom Day 2019 is "Media for Democracy: Journalism and Elections in Times of Disinformation".
2019 theme focusses on the challenges faced by media in elections and also media's potential in supporting peace and reconciliation processes. Let us tell you that the main event will take place in Addis Ababa on 1-3 May at the African Union Headquarters.
This day will also examine the challenges faced by the media in ensuring freedom for press online.
In 2018, the theme was "Keeping Power in Check: Media, Justice and The Rule of Law".
In 2017, the theme was “Critical Minds for Critical Times: Media’s role in advancing peaceful, just and inclusive societies”.
In 2016, the theme was “Access to Information and Fundamental Freedoms – This Is Your Right!”.
World Press Freedom Day: History
In 1976, World Press Freedom Committee was established by some independent journalists to promote and defend press freedom and cover 44 media organisations from around the world. This organisation is located in Argentina. It is a member of the International Freedom of Expression Exchange which functions in cooperation with several other organisations for freedom of press, human rights experts and journalists.
To reflect upon the freedom of press internationally, United Nation General Assembly in 1993 took an initiative to arrange World Press Freedom Day. This day was marked on the jubilee of the Declaration of Windhoek. It is basically a statement of fundamentals of press freedom assembled in 1991 by the African Journalists to encourage an independent African press.
World Press Freedom Day: Celebrations
- Several cultural events are organised to determine the significance of press freedom.
- Initiatives of several nations are coordinated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and most of the time it serves as an organising partner to foster the freedom of expression.
- UNESCO conferred awards to the deserving organisations, individuals or institutions that have made commendable contributions in the promotion and defence of press freedom in any part of the world.
- In India, Press Freedom Day is celebrated to salute the media journalists who risked their lives in providing information or sometimes lost their life in the duty itself.
- Various Government officers, ministers take part while organising several events like art exhibitions; honour awards for the journalists who have risked their lives on duty etc. on this day in India.
Freedom of the Press, if it means anything at all, means the freedom to criticize and oppose - George Orwell
According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers. – Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
We all know that in the development of any country media plays a crucial role. It not only aware people what is going on around the surrounding but also about the events which affect their lives. Freedom of Press should be taken seriously as safety of journalists while delivering information during their duties is of utmost importance. Also, freedom of speech and expression right should be respected.