30 April 2008
Press Release
Note No. 6145

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Note to Correspondents




The United Nations Department of Public Information will observe World Press Freedom Day 2008, organized with the support of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), New York Office, with an event on Thursday, 1 May, from 10 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. in Conference Room 1.

The programme is divided into two segments, the opening and the panel discussion.  The opening segment will include statements and messages by, or on behalf of, the Secretary-General, the President of the General Assembly, the Chairman of the Committee on Information, the President of the United Nations Correspondents Association and the Director-General of UNESCO.

A panel discussion, under the theme of “Access to Information and the Empowerment of People”, will follow.  As part of the weekly DPI/NGO briefings programme, the discussion is expected to provide an overview of the global state of access to information and show how new information technologies allow for the empowerment of people, with a specific focus on Brazil.  A taped statement by Chief Almir Narayamoga Surui, who is working towards using satellite images to monitor illegal logging in the Amazon rainforest, will be screened.

Speakers will include Norberto Moretti, Counsellor, Permanent Mission of Brazil to the United Nations; Richard Winfield, Chairman, World Press Freedom Committee; Fernando Rodrigues, Brazilian investigative journalist, Harvard Nieman Fellow; and Larry Rohter, Journalist, the New York Times.

The live webcast of the event will be available at www.un.org/dpi/ngosection.

World Press Freedom Day is celebrated every year on 3 May worldwide.  It is an opportunity to celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom, to evaluate press freedom, to defend the media from attacks on their independence and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty.  The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed World Press Freedom Day in 1993, following a recommendation adopted at the twenty-sixth session of UNESCO’s General Conference in 1991.

For additional information, please visit the dedicated World Press Freedom Day 2008 website at www.un.org/events/pressday/2008 or contact Sasa Gorisek, Information Officer, DPI/NGO Relations, at tel.:  212 963 1859, or e-mail:  gorisek@un.org; or Suzanne Bilello, Senior Information and Liaison Officer, UNESCO New York Office, at tel.:  212 963 4386, or e-mail:  bilello@un.org.

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For information media • not an official record