"Quality journalism enables citizens to make informed decisions about their society’s development. It also works to expose injustice, corruption, and the abuse of power. For this, journalism must be able to thrive, in an enabling environment in which they can work independently and without undue interference and in conditions of safety."
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova
and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein
2015 Theme: Let Journalism Thrive! Towards better reporting, gender equality and media safety in the digital age
UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova (right) with Christiane Amanpour, newly named Goodwill Ambassador for Freedom of Expression and Journalist Safety. Photo: UNESCO
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 the Declaration of Windhoek is celebrated worldwide as World Press Freedom Day. 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 will take place 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.