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World Press Freedom Day

May 3, 2022

The World Press Freedom Day is observed annually on 3 May and aims to inform everyone that freedom of press and expression are fundamental human rights. It was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1993 following a recommendation adopted at the twenty-sixth session of UNESCO's General Conference. On this day we celebrate the basic principles of press freedom, assess the state of press freedom in the world, defend the media against attacks on their independence, and pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

In times of crisis, the importance of accurate and reliable journalism cannot be overstated. Yet, since 1993 more than 1387 journalists have been killed ‘in the line of duty’ or merely for the fact of being a journalist. Hence, securing a free and independent media and ensuring journalism without fear or favour are therefore more than ever essential for democracy to survive. This Day calls attention to the essential role of free and professional journalists in producing and disseminating this information, by tackling misinformation and other harmful content.

Hence, the theme of this year’s World Press Freedom Day is ‘Journalism under digital siege’, and it spotlights the multiple ways in which journalism is endangered by surveillance and digitally-mediated attacks on journalists, and the consequences of all this on public trust in digital communications. The theme is of urgent relevance to all countries across the world, as it recognises the changing communications system that is impacting on our health, our human rights, democracies, and sustainable development.

We, at the World Assembly World (WAY), deem that this Day acts as a reminder of the importance of a free press in a functioning and safe society, and serves to commemorate the journalists who have lost their lives in support of free press. We should encourage more transparency regarding how Internet companies exploit citizens’ data, how that data informs predictive models and artificial intelligence, and enables amplification of disinformation and hatred. In reflecting the issue of press freedom and professional ethics amongst media, we believe that young people should be exposed to different opinions, freedom of speech, and freedom to publish their desires.

Together, we should encourage and develop initiatives in favour of press freedom, as well as assessing the status of press freedom worldwide. Our efforts shall continue to include the promotion of human rights including media expression to young people serving as a reminder of the need to respect the importance of press freedom.

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