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World Press Freedom Day is observed every year to remind that press freedom and freedom of speech are enshrined under the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights

By Ekaterina Grigorieva

Every year, May 3 is a date which celebrates the fundamental principles of press freedom, to evaluate press freedom around the world, to defend the media from attacks on their independence and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession.

The journalists’ and reporters’ work is difficult and dangerous, because media representatives often obtain information in various hot spots, risking their health and sometimes their lives. But not only natural disasters and martial law threaten fearless journalists. World history shows many examples of how people devoted to their profession were subjected to horrific repression and persecution by the authorities just for telling the truth that was uncomfortable for politicians, before the world. That is why today freedom of speech and press freedom are so highly valued and celebrated internationally.

World Press Freedom Day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 1993 following a Recommendation adopted at the twenty-sixth session of UNESCO’s General Conference in 1991. At the core of UNESCO’s mandate is freedom of the press and freedom of expression. UNESCO believes that these freedoms allow for mutual understanding to build a sustainable peace.

The date of the celebration was not chosen by chance. It was on May 3, 1991 in the capital of Namibia that the Windhoek Declaration was signed, calling on governments around the world to ensure press freedom and the democratic character of media.

UNESCO organises World Press Freedom Day themed events in different parts of the world. Traditionally, in 2022, the award ceremony of the prestigious UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize marking a contribution to press freedom, is taking place again.

World Press Freedom Day is observed every year to remind the world community that press freedom and freedom of speech are the principal rights enshrined under the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

World Press Freedom Day provides the global community with the opportunity to pay tribute to those news professionals who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

On 2-5 May 2022, UNESCO and the Republic of Uruguay will host 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 will be discussed.

World Press Freedom Day 2022 will reunite relevant stakeholders such as policymakers, journalists, media representatives, activists, cybersecurity managers and legal experts to explore these issues and develop concrete solutions to address the threats posed by increased surveillance to press freedom and privacy.

Note that according to 2021 World Press Freedom Index by Reporters Without Borders, Scandinavian countries take the top four places: Norway, Finland, Sweden, and Denmark. Germany takes the 13th place, Great Britain, France and the USA take the 33rd, 34th and 44th places respectively, and Russia is in the 150th place…

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