Today is World Press Freedom Day: the day aims to raise awareness of the importance of freedom of the press

Today, on May 3 is celebrated in the whole world as World Press Freedom Day. The decision is made by the United Nations General Assembly and aimed to raise awareness of the importance of freedom of the press and remind governments of their duty to respect and uphold the right to freedom of expression enshrined under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and marking the anniversary of the Declaration of Windhoek, a statement of free press principles put together by African newspaper journalists in 1991. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, informs about this.

UNESCO marks World Press Freedom Day by conferring theUNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize on a deserving individual, organization or institution that has made an outstanding contribution to the defense and/or promotion of press freedom anywhere in the world, especially when this has been achieved in the face of danger. Created in 1997, the prize is awarded on the recommendation of an independent jury of 14 news professionals. Names are submitted by regional and international non-governmental organizations working for press freedom, and by UNESCO member states.

On May 2 the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatović ahead of World Press Freedom Day on 3 May paid tribute to the courage of media workers and emphasized their essential role in the development of democracy. OSCE official web-site informs about this.

“I admire your fearless efforts to tell the truth. We would live in a very different world without a strong independent media,” said Mijatović, speaking from Tunis, where she is attending an international media freedom conference. “Risking your safety and even lives in the line of duty, you continue to courageously fulfill your mission.”

“At this moment when we are celebrating World Press Freedom Day, there are many journalists sitting behind bars and many still waiting for justice,” she emphasized.

“I will continue to urge governments to solve all cases of violence against journalists and to stop impunity for the perpetrators, in order to make our region a better and safer area for reporting. I will continue to oppose restrictive laws and practices that silence independent and critical voices of media, off- and online.” 

“The digital revolution and modern Internet technologies have changed your methods, but not the essence of what you do. They have made news gathering and sharing faster and easier, but they have not eliminated the need for professional investigative reporting.”

The OSCE media freedom representative, along with the other three special rapporteurs on free media from the United Nations, the Organization of American States and the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, is attending a UNESCO conference today dedicated to World Press Freedom Day.

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