World Press Freedom Day – How to Observe World Press Freedom Day

On World Press Freedom Day last year, UNESCO organized a special anniversary event at UN headquarters in New York, marking 30 years since the UN General Assembly’s decision proclaiming an international day for press freedom.

World Press Freedom Day

Celebrated on the 3rd of May, the theme of last year is “Shaping a Future of Rights: Freedom of Expression as a Driver for all Other Human Rights” (Working title), signifying the enabling element of freedom of expression in others to enjoy and protect every other human rights.

This anniversary edition of the World Press Freedom Day would include a full day of activities at the UN Headquarters on the 2nd of May. Partners from the media, civil society, and academia are invited to organize events in New York and around the world centered on the theme of this year.

World Press Freedom Day

It’s been three decades since it was proclaimed in the year 1993, in which we have experienced substantial progress towards acquiring a free press and freedom of expression around the world. The proliferation of independent media in a lot of countries and the rise of digital technologies have aided information’s free flow. However, media freedom, the safety of journalists, and freedom of expression are increasingly under attack, which in terms impacts the fulfillment of other human rights.

There are tons of crises being faced by the international community, they include conflicts and violence, persistent socio-economic inequalities driving migration, environmental crises, and challenges to the health and well-being of people around the world. At the same time, disinformation and misinformation online and offline proliferate, with some major impact on the institutions underpinning democracy, the rule of law, and human rights.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Also, it is exactly to encounter these critical situations and threats, that press freedom, the safety of journalists and access to information take center stage. The right to freedom of expression happens to be enshrined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it’s a prerequisite and a driver to the enjoyment of all the other human rights.

This year’s special 30th anniversary celebration of World Press Freedom Day is, therefore a call to recenter press freedom, as well as independent, pluralistic, and diverse media, as a major enjoyment of all the other human rights.

Origins and Purpose of World Press Freedom Day

The World Press Day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in the year 1993 in December, following UNESCO’s general conference recommendation. Since that day, the anniversary has been recognized and celebrated all over the world as World Press Freedom Day.

30 years later, the historic connections that were created between the freedom to seek, impart, and receive information and the public good remain as relevant as it was during the time of its signing. Special commemorations of the 30th anniversary are planned to take place during the World Press Freedom Day International Conference.

How to Observe World Press Freedom Day

Head over to the Press Freedom Day online. Make use of your local newspaper to express yourself. Write a letter to the editor on something that you feel strongly about.

Read George Orwell’s 1984, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, and Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 all of which picture a society without a free press.

You can make a post on social media with the #PressFreedomDay, or #WorldPressFreedomDay

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