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World Press Freedom Day

Video camera (Source: Wikimedia Commons/Popperipopp)3 May 2013 -- In 1993, the United Nations General Assembly established this Day "to celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom, to evaluate press freedom around the world, to defend the media from attacks on their independence and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession". 

Press freedom is considered to be a cornerstone of human rights and a guarantee of other freedoms. Freedom of expression is essential to enable public participation in decision-making. Citizens cannot effectively exercise their right to vote or take part in public debate if they do not have free access to information and ideas and are not able to freely express their views.

Reporter Without Borders' Press Freedom Index 2011-2012 confirms that full-fledged democracies are often global leaders in press freedom. "This year's index finds the same group of countries at its head, countries such as Finland, Norway and Netherlands that respect basic freedoms. This serves as a reminder that media independence can only be maintained in strong democracies and that democracy needs media freedom. It is worth noting the entry of Cape Verde and Namibia into the top twenty, two African countries where no attempts to obstruct the media were reported in 2011."

Sources: Reporters Without Borders, United Nations Department of Public Information


Selected learning materials

Study Guide on Freedom of Expression
This guide introduces the main issues, international standards and protection mechanisms to guarantee freedom of expression, including press freedom.

The Virtual Freedom of Expression Handbook
The book includes cases and key documents in the main areas of restriction on freedom of expression: broadcast/film regulation, concentration of ownership, content restrictions, defamation, freedom of information, minorities, national security, print regulation, privacy, protection of sources, public order, public service broadcasting.

Education and training materials for journalists in HREA's online Library


Useful Links

Article 19

Index on Censorship

International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX)

International Press Institute (IPI)

Reporters Without Borders (RSF)

Suggested Activities for World Press Freedom Day (UNA-Canada)

World Press Freedom Day (WAN-IFRA)

World Press Freedom Day information page (United Nations)

Links to other organisations that protect and promote press freedom

 

 

 

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