Every year, May 3 is celebrated as World Press Freedom Day. Begun by the UN General Assembly in 1993, on a proposal from UNESCO, the day is utilized to celebrate the basic standards of press freedom, evaluate its state the world over, guard the media from assaults on their independence and to pay tribute to journalists who have set out their lives in the exercise of their profession.
The theme during the current year’s World Press Freedom Day is “Media for Democracy: Journalism and Elections in Times of Disinformation” and it examines current difficulties looked by media in elections, along with the media’s potential in supporting peace and reconciliation processes.
At the core of UNESCO’s mandate is opportunity of the press and opportunity of expression. UNESCO trusts that these freedoms take into account common comprehension to assemble maintainable harmony.
Significantly, the idea note for the celebration states, “Today, the contribution of free, pluralistic, independent and safe journalism to democracy is under unprecedented stress. Also, election outcomes and their aftermath are critically affected by political discourse and communications, including the role of the media in relation to the polling process.”
The note, as distributed on the UN site, further peruses, “Many societies have falling trust in established political parties and in news outlets themselves. This is often accompanied by a polarizing political discourse that threatens peaceful elections as well as press freedom.”
The idea lines up with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal where freedom of articulation and security of journalists are ensured; the media can assume a fundamental job in forestalling conflict and in supporting peaceful democratic processes.
Also, the threat is real. As per a report distributed by the International Federation of Journalists, 18 journalists have already been killed in 2019.
In this way, Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, on the event of World Press Freedom Day has said, “Press freedom is the cornerstone of democratic societies. All States, all nations, are strengthened by information, debate and the exchange of opinions. At a time of growing discourse of mistrust and delegitimization of the press and journalism, it is essential that we guarantee freedom of opinion through the free exchange of ideas and information based on factual truths. The theme of this 26th celebration is “media for democracy: journalism and elections in times of disinformation”.”
The 26th celebration of World Press Freedom Day is jointly organized by UNESCO, the African Union Commission and the Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.