GFMD MEMBERS AND PARTNERS CELEBRATE WORLD PRESS FREEDOM DAY 2019

On May 3rd 2019 the 26th annual World Press Freedom Day will be celebrated across over 100 different countries worldwide. Since its conception in 1993, the United Nations has branded World Press Freedom Day as an opportunity to:

  1. Celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom;
  2. Assess the state of press freedom throughout the world;
  3. Defend the media from attacks on their independence;
  4. Remember journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

For its 26th instalment, World Press Freedom Day has been co-organised by UNESCO, The African Union Commission, and the Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. With the focal point of the celebrations taking place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, professionals from the world of journalism and media development gather to discuss this year’s theme: “Media for Democracy: Journalism and Elections in Times of Disinformation” from May 1st to 3rd. World Press Freedom Day 2019 also aims to address the following sub-themes:

  1. How the digital era is affecting electoral communications – and how this impacts on existing policies and regulations for elections and for communications related to the Internet;
  2. New attempts to undermine media’s role in democracy: Discrediting professional journalism, and disrupting Internet access;
  3. Media’s potential to contribute to a culture of sustainable peace and democracy.

On top of this, the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize is awarded to a person, organisation or institution that has made an outstanding contribution to the defence and, or promotion of press freedom anywhere in the world. This year the Prize is awarded to Reuters reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo. They are serving a 7-year prison sentence in Myanmar for doing journalism.

António Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General has released a message on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day.

Dunja Mijatović, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, has also issued a statement ahead of World Press Freedom Day.

GMFD Network

Several of GFMD’s members have embraced this opportunity to develop campaigns and initiatives that promote press freedom and to discuss the state of press freedom worldwide. From May 1st to 3rd, many GFMD members will organise and participate in parallel events and panel discussions taking place in Addis Ababa. A full list of events can be found here, including details of the following events with GFMD member organisations:

  • International Media Support (IMS)Best Practices on Elections Reporting: When Stakeholders Come Together.
    Date and Time: 01/05/2019, 13:30 – 15:00.
    Venue: Conference Room 5, UNECA.
  • IREXMedia and Elections in Africa.
    Date and Time: 01/05/2019, 15:30 – 17:00.
    Venue: Conference Room 6, UNECA
  • Centre for International Media Development (CIMA) & European Journalism Centre (EJC)Media, Public Trust, and the Crisis of Democracy. 02/05/2019, 15:30 – 17:00. Medium Conference Room, African Union Headquarters.
  • Article 19Social Media Councils: A New Regulatory Model for Content Moderation in Global Perspective.
    Date and Time: 03/05/2019, 09:30 – 11:00.
    Venue: Medium Conference room, African Union Headquarters.
  • Free Press Unlimited (FPU)Enabling Freedom of Information: What can the SDG agenda mean for you?
    Date and Time: 03/05/2019, 14:00 – 15:30
    Venue: Conference Room 3, African Union Headquarters.

Elsewhere, on May 2nd, GFMD member Globe International organised an event celebrating press freedom alongside UNESCO’s Mongolian National Commission. The organisation led discussions focusing on the theme of media and democracy. They also hosted a competition for students and presented a press freedom award to Mongolian news organisation, IKON News. Additionally, their chairman, Kh.Naranjargal, received a medal for human rights from the Mongolian National Human Rights Commission.