World Press Freedom Day
World Press Freedom Day is celebrated on May 3 of every year. World Press Day is celebrated to raise awareness of the importance of freedom of the press and remind governments of their duty to respect and uphold the right to freedom of expression. The day also marks the anniversary of the Declaration of Windhoek (A statement of free press principles put together by African newspaper journalists in 1991). Hence World Press Freedom Day is a perfect day to inform the international community that freedom of the press and freedom of expression are fundamental human rights.
“Freedom of expression – in particular, freedom of the press – guarantees popular participation in the decisions and actions of government, and popular participation is the essence of our democracy.” – Corazon Aquino
History of World Press Freedom Day
World Press Freedom Day was created by the General Assembly of the United Nations in December 1993 as an outcome of the Seminar on Promoting the Independent and Pluralistic African Press. This workshop took place in Namibia in 1991 and led to the adoption of the Windhoek Declaration on Promoting the Independent and Pluralistic Media. Despite World Press Freedom Day has been celebrated since 1993, it has much deeper roots in the United Nations. Article 19 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights says “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes liberty to hold opinions without any interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”
Themes of World Press Freedom Day
The current and past themes of World Press Freedom Day are listed below
1998 – “Press Freedom is a Cornerstone of Human Rights.”
1999 – “Turbulent Eras: Generational Perspectives on Freedom of the Press.”
2000 – “Reporting the News in a Dangerous World: The Role of the Media in conflict settlement, Reconciliation and Peace-building.”
2001 – “Combating racism and promoting diversity: the role of the free press.”
2002 – “Covering the War on Global Terrorism.”
2003 – “The Media and Armed Conflict.”
2004 – “Who decides how much information?”.
2005 – “Media and Good Governance.”
2006 – “The media as drivers of change.”
2007 – “The United Nations and the freedom of the press.”
2008 – “Celebrating the fundamental principles of press freedom.”
2009 – “Dialogue, mutual understanding, and reconciliation.”
2010 – “Freedom of information: the right to know.”
2011 – “21st Century Media: New Frontiers, New Barriers”.
2012 – “New Voices: Media Freedom Helping to Transform Societies.”
2013 – “Safe to Speak: Securing Freedom of Expression in All Media.”
2014 – “Media Freedom for a Better Future: Shaping the post-2015 Development Agenda”.
2015 – “Let Journalism Thrive. Towards Better Reporting, Gender Equality, & Media Safety in the Digital Age”.
2016 – “Access to Information and Fundamental Freedoms.”
2017 – “Critical Minds for Critical Times: Media’s role in advancing peaceful, just and inclusive societies.”
Other Celebrations on May 3
May 3 is also celebrated as
- National Two Different Colored Shoes Day
- National Paranormal Day
- World Password Day
- National Lumpy Rug Day
- National Garden Meditation Day
How to celebrate World Press Freedom Day
Celebrating the World Press Freedom Day is quite easy and very simple to remember. Just pay tribute to media professionals who risked or lost their lives in the line of duty and watch a documentary about the media and press freedoms. You can use #WorldPressFreedomDay to express your feelings in social media about the freedom of the press.