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“Let Journalism Thrive”, says UN on Freedom of Expression Day

Monday, May 4th 2015 - 06:07 UTC
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“Everyone must be free to seek, receive and impart knowledge and information on all media, online and offline” said the message from Ban Ki-moon “Everyone must be free to seek, receive and impart knowledge and information on all media, online and offline” said the message from Ban Ki-moon
“In the last year alone, 61 journalists were killed. Many more languish in jails without charges or any sign of due process, the victims of governments” “In the last year alone, 61 journalists were killed. Many more languish in jails without charges or any sign of due process, the victims of governments”
Director-General Irina Bokova with Christiane Amanpour,(L) named Goodwill Ambassador for Freedom of Expression and Journalist Safety. (Photo: UNESCO) Director-General Irina Bokova with Christiane Amanpour,(L) named Goodwill Ambassador for Freedom of Expression and Journalist Safety. (Photo: UNESCO)
This year's theme – 'Let Journalism Thrive!'– is a three-pronged message that advocates for quality journalism, This year's theme – 'Let Journalism Thrive!'– is a three-pronged message that advocates for quality journalism,

Freedom of expression and press freedom are critical to the successful implementation of good governance and human rights around the world, top United Nations officials declared today as they inaugurated the 2015 edition of World Press Freedom Day with a reminder that both freedoms were “essential” for the shaping of a new global sustainable development agenda.

 In a joint message, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, the Director-General of the UN Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Irina Bokova, and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, observed that quality journalism “enables citizens to make informed decisions about their society's development” while also working “to expose injustice, corruption, and the abuse of power.”

“For peace to be lasting and development to be sustainable, human rights must be respected,” the UN officials affirmed in their statement. “Everyone must be free to seek, receive and impart knowledge and information on all media, online and offline.”

World Press Freedom Day, which was established by the UN General Assembly and is celebrated annually on 3 May, is designated by UNESCO as an opportunity to celebrate worldwide the fundamental principles of press freedom; assess the state of press freedom throughout the world; defend the media from attacks on their independence; and pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

This year's theme – 'Let Journalism Thrive!'– is a three-pronged message that advocates for quality journalism, the tackling of gender imbalances in media, and digital safety.

Ahead of the 2015 observance of the Day, UNESCO, the United Nations agency mandated to promote and protect press freedom worldwide, named renowned journalist and CNN correspondent Christiane Amanpour as its Goodwill Ambassador for Freedom of Expression and Journalist Safety.

“We need every voice to speak out and be heard – especially those of women,” the UN officials' statement continued. “Twenty years after the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, women remain underrepresented throughout the media, at decision-making level but also in the coverage of issues.”

“We cannot let this stand,” they added. “Men and women must participate equally in making and sharing the news.”

At the same time, Mr. Ban, Ms. Bokova, and Mr. Zeid underscored the troubling scenario of violence and insecurity in which thousands of journalists operate in every day, noting that at least one journalist is killed each week in both conflict and non-conflict zones.

“Journalism must be able to thrive, in an enabling environment in which they can work independently and without undue interference and in conditions of safety,” the statement declared. “This is our message today, to let journalism thrive!”

In a separate message, Mr. Ban said that around the globe, journalists are attacked every day as they try to carry out their work. In the last year alone, 61 journalists were killed. Many more languish in jails without charges or any sign of due process, the victims of governments and others that prohibit free inquiry and use the power of the state to intimidate the press.

“As we mark World Press Freedom Day this year, let us honor the memory of those who lost their lives, and intensify our efforts to uphold the fundamental human right to freedom of expression and press freedom,” said the Secretary-General, adding that this year's theme emphasizes the importance of ensuring a free and pluralistic media against the backdrop of a fast-paced and ever-changing digital world.

Digital technology has been exploited to spread hate speech or incite violence, but it is also a force for good, bringing people together in a global conversation about how to build a better world. In particular, digital technology can have a positive impact as leaders strive this year to formulate an ambitious agenda to advance sustainable development for years to come.

However digital journalists and bloggers are also facing retribution and curbs on their freedom to report, he said.

“Thriving journalism – whether in digital or more traditional form – must be anchored in quality reporting and information dissemination to all segments of society. Women play a critical, yet far too neglected, role in today's media landscape,” said the UN chief, calling on all governments, societies and individuals to uphold the principles put forward by Member States on the need for the free exchange of information and ideas, both within and among nations.

“We must commit to ensure that the safety and human rights of journalists are protected, independent of the political, socio-economic or cultural pressures that may threaten, impede or deter their freedom to keep the world informed,” he declared.

Categories: Politics, International.

Top Comments

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  • golfcronie

    Freedom of speech for Argentina HaHaHa What about Nisman? Freedom of speech HaHa

    May 04th, 2015 - 08:14 am 0
  • JohnN

    Probably a negative correlation between threats to a country's journalists and that country's rank on press freedom: higher the freedom, lower the threat.

    RSF's World Press Freedom Index : http://index.rsf.org/#!/
    Freedom House index:
    http://index.rsf.org/#!/

    May 04th, 2015 - 01:17 pm 0
  • Enrique Massot

    #1 golfcronie
    Come on. Have you ever read anything about Argentina's freedom of press?
    If you did you could post something that would make sense.
    If you were able to read Clarin and see the amount of falsehoods it disseminates regularly you would gain understanding.
    You may not like a government and that is fine--posting absurdities only hurts your own credibility.
    Here:
    “Extreme violence against members of the press is very rare in Argentina, and no journalists were murdered in 2012.”
    “In a positive step, libel and slander offenses for journalists were decriminalized in 2009 and are no longer punishable by imprisonment.”

    https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-press/2013/argentina#.VUeif_lVhBc

    May 04th, 2015 - 05:07 pm 0
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