Today is World Press Freedom Day. On 2011, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon,
 Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and 
Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director-General all declared in a joint-message that:

World Press Freedom Day


“Violations of fundamental human rights cannot go unanswered. State authorities must do everything to counter impunity and to protect the safety of journalists. We will never forget the courage of journalists who paid with their lives for our right to know. ”

World Press Freedom Day was established to highlight Article 19 in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states that, “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

World Press Freedom Day is an especially important reminder for us in the West, because here press freedom is often taken for granted. There are still dozens of countries around the world where publications are censored, fined, and closed down, while journalists, editors and publishers are harassed, attacked, and even murdered.

The themes for 2012 World Press Freedom Day are ‘New Voices: Media Freedom Helping to Transform Societies,’ ‘Challenges to Media in a New Environment,’ and ‘Difficulty in the Access to Quality Information Undermines Media Freedom.’ A fact that demonstrates the importance of all of the above themes is that 60% of the world’s households still don’t own a computer. In addition, only 35% of the world’s population consider themselves ‘internet users’, most of these people living in the Western world. The right to free speech and press freedom are deeply interconnected with the right to access information, thus it becomes vitally important to close this digital gap between the so-called developed and developing countries.

Questions that UNESCO, therefore, encourages the public to think about on World Press Freedom Day this year are:

–       How can free media in the online area better contribute to the success of democratic elections?

–       Where do mobile technology and service providers fit into the long-term development of press freedom and freedom of expression?

–       Which strategy could enhance the media and information literacy?

–       What are the priority groups who would benefit most from a strengthening of media and information literacy?

Answering these questions is not easy, but the fact that we are able to read them and respond to them on the internet just demonstrates how easily information is available for us.


Also in May:

World No-Tobacco Day – May 31st

International Day for UN Peacekeepers – May 29th

Africa Day – May 25th

The Day of Cyrillic Alphabet – May 24th

International Day for Biological Diversity – May 22nd

Cultural Diversity Day – May 21st

Cultural Diversity Day: A Special ‘Hello!’

World Day Against Homophobia – May 17th

World Telecommunications and Information Society Day – May 17th

Mastering the Art of Cheek Kissing

International Day of Families – May 15th

World Fair Trade Day – May 12th

Red Cross Crescent Day – May 8th

Europe Day – May 9th

Wesak – May 5th

May Day – May 1st

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This entry was posted on Thursday, May 3rd, 2012 at 9:00 am and is filed under conflict & resolution, days of significance, General . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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