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WORLD PRESS FREEDOM DAY 2021

Posted by: Olga Komarova | 5. May 2021

Annually on May 3 the world celebrates World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) – a globally important date of recognition for journalists and media professionals, who continuously work for the right of access to information and freedom of expression and thought, despite the constraints of oppressive governments, threats, and violence.

This year, World Press Freedom Day marked the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Windhoek Declaration, which was signed following a UNESCO seminar in Windhoek, Namibia, in 1991, and still serves as a benchmark for ensuring press freedom today.

“The Declaration was adopted in 1991 in a climate of optimism. It was due, in most part, to Namibia’s newfound freedom, the slow unraveling of apartheid in South Africa as well as growing resistance to African dictatorships and development−type autocratic regimes. This context resulted in an impetus for democratic reforms within a rapidly changing media environment across the continent.”

Gwen Lister, co-founder of The Namibian

Two years later, in 1993, the UN General Assembly declared May 3 as World Press Freedom Day, emphasising the importance of promoting journalistic and media freedom.

On May 3 2021, the Global Forum for Media Development stood with all journalists and media workers who strive for truth, and collected the most interesting and important news from GFMD network, dedicated to World Press Freedom Day.

UNESCO WORLD PRESS FREEDOM DAY 2021 GLOBAL CONFERENCE

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has organised a series of events to mark the day, the most outstanding of which was the Global Conference held in Windhoek, Namibia from April 29 to May 3.

The conference highlighted the threat of the disappearance of local news media around the world, and the crisis exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. It has also offered ideas to address the problems of the online media environment, demanding greater transparency of Internet companies, increased safety for journalists, and better working conditions for media professionals.

One of the main results of the UNESCO WPFD Global Conference, which GFMD contributed to, was the signing of the Windhoek+30 Declaration, which reaffirmed that press freedom, independence and pluralism remain major goals to guarantee information as a public good that serves as a shared resource for the whole of humanity.

#HOLDTHELINE COALITION

On May 3 2021, Reporters Without Borders together with the #HoldTheLine Coalition launched a mass solidarity campaign with Maria Ressa – the co-founder and current CEO of the Philippines-based online outlet Rappler, who faces a lifetime in prison in the Philippines for criticising President Rodrigo Duterte and exposing his government’s corruption.

The Philippines is ranked 138th out of 180 countries in the 2021 World Press Freedom Index, with a total of 16 journalists killed in connection with their work since Rodrigo Duterte was sworn in as president in 2016.

PRESS RELEASED BY PROJECT SYNDICATE

To celebrate WPFD, Project Syndicate has launched a two-week campaign to promote their “Press Released” initiative – a special selection of commentaries that explore the challenges facing the media industry today, emphasising that access to free press is an invaluable public good.

WHY IS JOURNALISM THE BEST JOB IN THE WORLD?

Among the numerous events and initiatives dedicated to World Press Freedom Day 2021, The Gabo Foundation is leading a social media campaign under the hashtag #ElMejorOficioDelMundo (Spanish for “the best job in the world”), inviting journalists from around the world to say why they consider journalism the best job in the world, as Gabriel García Márquez famously described it in this 1997 essay.

ARTICLE 19 – SERBIA: MEDIA FREEDOM AND JOURNALISTS MUST BE PROTECTED

The findings of the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) mission, which took place from 29 January to 2 February 2021, will be presented at a virtual event. On 11 May, Article 19 will report on its international advocacy mission to Serbia during an online event, and will also present the findings of an upcoming report on SLAPPs against journalists in Serbia.

PANOS CALLS FOR ACTUALISATION OF ACCESS TO INFORMATION LAWS IN SOUTHERN AFRICA

Ahead of the commemoration of World Press Freedom Day, Panos Institute Southern Africa issued a statement, calling for the actualisation of access to information laws in Southern Africa, urging the governments of those countries that have not yet enacted access to information laws to do so immediately.

“We therefore call on Southern African countries that have not yet enacted access to information laws to do so as a matter of urgency. We also call for the reformation or abolition of restrictive laws that are limiting citizens’ use of the media and other platforms to seek, share and receive information as a public good in a manner that will enable them to participate in and contribute to the attainment of the development agendas. Doing so will also be advancing one of the principles of good governance, transparency, and accountability, which is difficult to achieve without free flow of information, an informed citizenry and free press.”

IMS REPORT ON COVID-19 AND THE MEDIA: A PANDEMIC OF PARADOXES

Released to mark WPFD, the latest report by International Media Support (IMS) “Covid-19 and the media: A pandemic of paradoxes” provides insights into how journalists and media outlets have coped with the different challenges posed by Covid-19.

This report covers responses to the infringement of the right to freedom of information, misinformation on social media and the impact on public interest media caused by the pandemic with a human-rights based approach and gender-sensitive lens.

“UN CATALOGUES ‘CHILLING TIDE OF ABUSE’ AGAINST FEMALE JOURNALISTS” BY GUARDIAN

Explore “UN catalogues ‘chilling tide of abuse’ against female journalists” via Guardian about female journalists facing harassment in virtual space on a daily basis, which undermines their reporting, spills over into real-life attacks and harassment, and puts their health and professional prospects in jeopardy, the UN has warned.

BBC MEDIA ACTION: PATHWAYS TO MEDIA SUSTAINABILITY IN A BROKEN MARKET

Produced by BBC Media Action, the first working paper in a series from Protecting Independent Media for Effective Development (PRIMED) project argues that business models capable of supporting independent media are decreasing, highlighting that alternative sources of revenue for independent media are scarce, and assesses whether fresh approaches to public subsidy might provide part of a solution to supporting independent media.

OCCRP – PRESSURE ON INDEPENDENT MEDIA REFLECTS INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM’S GROWING IMPACT

On World Press Freedom Day 2021, the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) stood with all members of the media who face threats for doing their jobs. After highlighting a number of trends that journalists and media workers face around the world on a daily basis, OCCRP came to an important conclusion – “Investigative reporting has given corrupt governments something to fear.”

 

The core value of the GFMD is to support the strengthening of journalism and free, sustainable and pluralistic news ecosystems, of which press freedom is an integral part.

“Free and independent journalism is our greatest ally in combatting misinformation and disinformation.”

UN Secretary-General António Guterres on WPFD 2021

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