"Let Journalism Thrive! Towards better reporting, gender equality and media safety in the digital age" - 2015 theme for World press freedom day
Posted May 3rd, 2015
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The United Nations General Assembly declared May 3 to be World Press Freedom Day or just World Press Day 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 1948 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.

UNESCO marks World Press Freedom Day by conferring the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize on a deserving individual, organization or institution that has made an outstanding contribution to the defence 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.

The Prize is named in honour of Guillermo Cano Isaza, a Colombian journalist who was assassinated in front of the offices of his newspaper, El Espectador, in Bogotá, on 17 December 1986. Cano's writings had offended Colombia's powerful drug barons.

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;

  • pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

This year UNESCO, the United Nations agency mandated to promote and protect press freedom worldwide, has named renowned journalist and CNN Chief International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour its Goodwill Ambassador for Freedom of Expression and Journalist Safety.

UNESCO is focusing on three themes for World Press Freedom Day this year:

The need for “quality journalism” - reporting that is accurate and independent, remains a constant concern in a media landscape that is changing due to technological and commercial developments.
Gender imbalance continues in the media 20 years after the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Change. All too few women journalists are able to reach decision-making positions in the media.
The third theme is digital safety, a topic of growing concern because digital communications makes it difficult for journalists to protect themselves and their sources.
The annual UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize ceremony is at on 3 May 2015 at the National Library of Latvia in Riga. The winner is Syrian journalist and human rights activist, Mazen Darwish, who is currently imprisoned.

UNESCO Director-General, Ms Irina Bokova's Message on World Press Freedom Day 2015

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