World Press Freedom Day, a day to celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom and to defend the media from attacks on their independence. It is also a day to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty.
However, this year’s celebration is overshadowed by the rising threats to press freedom around the world. The number of journalists imprisoned worldwide has reached a 30-year high as of the end of last year. The organization also reported that at least 50 journalists were killed in 2022, most of them in countries that are not at war.
The United Nations also revealed “unbelievable” trends in deadly attacks against journalists on World Press Freedom Day. The global body warned that lethal threats were not only rising, but changing in disturbing ways. For example, more and more journalists are being killed outside of conflict zones, and more and more women journalists are being targeted.
World Press Freedom Day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 1993, following the recommendation of UNESCO’s General Conference. The date marks the anniversary of the Declaration of Windhoek, a statement of free press principles put together by African newspaper journalists in 1991.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of World Press Freedom Day. A special event will be held at UN headquarters in New York on 2 May, with speakers from the media, academia, and civil society. The event will also include the awarding of the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize to the 2023 laureate.
The theme of this year’s World Press Freedom Day is “Shaping a Future of Rights: Freedom of Expression as a Driver for all other human rights”. The theme reflects the importance of press freedom as a prerequisite and a driver for the enjoyment of all other human rights.
World Press Freedom Day is an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to the right to freedom of expression, enshrined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is also an opportunity to support journalists who risk their lives to inform us and to hold power accountable.