Events in 2012
UNESCO's main celebration was in Tunis this year, with a three-day programme of events focused on the role of media as a catalyst for social and political change.
UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize
One of the highlights of World Press Freedom Day 2012 was the award ceremony on 3 May for the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize. This year’s laureate, Azerbaijani journalist and human rights activist Eynulla Fatullayev, attended the ceremony. Addresses were also made by the President of Tunisia, Moncef Marzouki, and UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova.
"New Voices: Media Freedom Helping to Transform Societies"
On the morning of 4 May, UNESCO Director-General and the Prime Minister of Tunisia, Hamed Jebali, opened an international conference on the theme of "New Voices: Media Freedom Helping to Transform Societies".
The conference was divided into three debates, held over 4 and 5 May:
- "Media Freedom Helping to Transform Societies: New Voices, Youth, and Social Media" looked at how the convergence of social media, mobile connections and satellite television has generated growth in freedom of expression. This in turn unleashed the protest movement that began in Tunisia in December in 2010 before spreading through much of the Arab world and beyond.
- "The Reshaping of the Media Landscape in a Transitional Environment" was the subject of the second session. It focused on the changes experienced by government-owned media and their ability to become public service operators that meet high journalistic standards in a self-regulating environment.
- Finally, a "Special Plenary Session on Tunisia" examined the way forward for the media in the country. Participants included the Minister of Human Rights and Transitional Justice, Samir Dilou and international participants such as Abdelkrim Hizaoui, Director of the Centre africain de perfectionnement des journalistes et des communicateurs.
For the first time, this year’s World Press Freedom Day event also included a number of side events, organised by UNESCO’s press freedom partners, including non-governmental and intergovernmental organizations, international media outlets and youth groups.