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2022 Theme: Journalism under digital siege

This year’s World Press Freedom Day theme “Journalism under digital siege,” spotlights the multiple ways in which journalism is endangered by surveillance and digitally-mediated attacks on journalists, and the consequences of all this on public trust in digital communications.

The latest UNESCO World Trends Report Insights discussion paper “Threats that Silence: Trends in the Safety of Journalists,” highlights how surveillance and hacking are compromising journalism. Surveillance can expose information gathered by journalists including from whistle-blowers, and violates the principle of source protection, which is universally considered a prerequisite for freedom of the media and is enshrined in UN Resolutions. Surveillance may also harm the safety of journalists by disclosing sensitive private information, which could be used for arbitrary judicial harassment or attack.

There is a growing global push encouraging more transparency regarding how Internet companies exploit citizens’ data; how that data informs predictive models and artificial intelligence, and enables amplification of disinformation and hatred. This was underlined in the Windhoek+30 Declaration call for technology companies to “work to ensure transparency in relation to their human and automated systems.”

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World Press Freedom Day 2022 Global Conference 

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.

On 2-5 May 2022, UNESCO and the Republic of Uruguay are hosting the annual World Press Freedom Day Global Conference in a hybrid format in Punta Del Este, Uruguay. Under the theme “Journalism under Digital Siege,” the digital era’s impact on freedom of expression, the safety of journalists, access to information and privacy are to be discussed

The conference will reunite relevant policymakers, journalists, media representatives, activists, policy makers in Internet companies, cybersecurity managers, AI researchers and legal experts from around the world to explore the digital era’s impact on freedom of expression and the safety of journalists, media viability and public trust.

Origins and purpose of the Day

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.

After 30 years, the historic connection made between the freedom to seek, impart and receive information and the public good remains as relevant as it was at the time of its signing. Special commemorations of the 30th anniversary are planned to take place during World Press Freedom Day International Conference.

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.

Observance at UN Headquarters

4 May 2022, 10.30 a.m. - 12.00 p.m. New York time

New York event

UNESCO and the UN Department of Global Communications are hosting a virtual event on the media's viability.

Follow the meeting live on UN WebTV at 10:30 a.m.

Celebrations around the world

UNESCO and partners are organizing celebrations around the world. Register your event in order to feature it in UNESCO's map of celebrations.

 

Sharing unverified information during the COVID-19 pandemic can be dangerous, unhealthy, and make our life more confusing. UNESCO and the World Health Organization are calling out this Infodemic and calling on you to be on the frontline for truth.

 

hands holding book and journalist with gas mask

As the United Nations agency with a specific mandate to promote “the free flow of ideas by word and image”, UNESCO works to foster free, independent and pluralistic media in print, broadcast and online. Media development in this mode enhances freedom of expression, and it contributes to peace, sustainability, poverty eradication and human rights

Black and white photo of Guillermo Cano Isaza at his typewriter.

This year's award ceremony will take place at the World Press Freedom Day Global Conference on 2 May. Created in 1997, the annual Prize honours a person, organization or institution that has made an outstanding contribution to the defence and/or promotion of press freedom anywhere in the world, especially when achieved in the face of danger.

 

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International days and weeks are occasions to educate the public on issues of concern, to mobilize political will and resources to address global problems, and to celebrate and reinforce achievements of humanity. The existence of international days predates the establishment of the United Nations, but the UN has embraced them as a powerful advocacy tool. We also mark other UN observances.