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World Press Freedom Day
May 3, 2021
2020 Theme: Journalism without Fear or Favour
On May 3, national and local celebrations for World Press Freedom Day will take place around the world, some in the form of online debates and workshops.
UNESCO is launching a global campaign on media and social media channels, with a focus on “Journalism without Fear or Favour” in an increasingly complex media landscape. Join them on May 3rd for an interactive free livestreamed event to celebrate World Press Freedom Day 2020: ” Difference Day Conference 2020.” Also, on May 4th through the 6th, there will be several events including: High-level Dialogue on Press Freedom and Tackling Disinformation in the COVID-19 context, webinars, and online discussions via Facebook Live, YouTube, and Microsoft teams, amongst other digital platforms. Details are available on the UNESCO site.
The sub-themes for this year are:
- Safety of Women and Men Journalists and Media Workers
- Independent and Professional Journalism free from Political and Commercial Influence
- Gender Equality in All Aspect of the Media
World Press Freedom Conference 2020
Organized annually since 1993, the Global Conference provides an opportunity to journalists, civil society representatives, national authorities, academics and the broader public to discuss emerging challenges to press freedom and journalists’ safety, and to work together on identifying solutions.
The Netherlands is the host for 2020. UNESCO and The Netherlands had planned to hold the Conference from 22 to 24 April at the World Forum in The Hague. It is now scheduled for 18 to 20 October at the same venue. It will be a joint celebration of World Press Freedom Day (3 May) and the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists (2 November). The decision to postpone the conference has been taken to minimize costs and risks for all involved, in the wake of the decision by the World Health Organization declaring COVID-19 a global pandemic.
The planning of the conference was well underway; with more than 1,000 registered participants and 60 confirmed sessions. The programme included the first-ever international forum of legal actors, an academic conference on the safety of journalists, a press freedom festival targeting youth, and the award ceremony of the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize, among many other sessions. The most important networks of media stakeholders had already confirmed their attendance. The conference organizers invite all partners to continue their engagement with this event and will work towards ensuring the same programme with an even greater level of participation in October.
More information is available on the UNESCO FAQ page.
Origin and Purpose
World Press Freedom Day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in December 1993, following the recommendation of UNESCO’s General Conference. Since then, 3 May, the anniversary of theis celebrated worldwide as World Press Freedom Day.
May 3 acts as a reminder to governments of the need to respect their commitment to press freedom. It is also a day of reflection among media professionals about issues of press freedom and professional ethics. It is an opportunity 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 in the line of duty.