World Press Freedom Day

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World Press Freedom Day
Date May 3
Next time 3 May 2017 (2017-05-03)
Frequency Annual

The United Nations General Assembly declared May 3 to be World Press Freedom Day[1][2] or just World Press Day 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 enshrined under Article 19 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and marking the anniversary of the Declaration of Windhoek, a statement of free press principles put together by African newspaper journalists in 1991.

UNESCO marks World Press Freedom Day by conferring the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize on a deserving individual, organisation or institution that has made an outstanding contribution to the defence and/or promotion of press freedom anywhere in the world, especially when this has been achieved in the face of danger. Created in 1997, the prize is awarded on the recommendation of an independent jury of 14 news professionals. Names are submitted by regional and international non-governmental organisations working for press freedom, and by UNESCO member states.

The Prize is named in honour of Guillermo Cano Isaza, a Colombian journalist who was assassinated in front of the offices of his newspaper, El Espectador, in Bogotá, on 17 December 1986. Cano's writings had offended Colombia's powerful drug barons.

UNESCO also marks World Press Freedom Day each year by bringing together media professionals, press freedom organisations and UN agencies to assess the state of press freedom worldwide and discuss solutions for addressing challenges. Each conference is centred on a theme related to press freedom, including good governance, media coverage of terrorism, impunity and the role of media in post-conflict countries.

The 2011 World Press Freedom Day celebration was held in Washington, D.C., United States on May 1–3. It was the first time the United States had hosted the World Press Freedom Day celebration. The theme of the event was 21st Century Media: New Frontiers, New Barriers. The event affirmed fundamental principles of media freedom in the digital age—the ability of citizens to voice their opinions and access diverse, independent information sources—20 years after the original declaration was made in Windhoek, Namibia.

World Press Freedom Day and the themes[edit]


Year City, Country Theme
1998  England London, England "Press Freedom is a Cornerstone of Human Rights."
1999  Colombia Bogotá, Colombia "Turbulent Eras: Generational Perspectives on Freedom of the Press."
2000   Switzerland Genève, Switzerland "Reporting the News in a Dangerous World: The Role of the Media in conflict settlement, Reconciliation and peace-building."
2001  Namibia Windhoek, Namibia "Combating racism and promoting diversity: the role of free press." Held jointly with the commemoration of the 10th Anniversary of the Windhoek Declaration. The occasion was marked by the signing of the African Charter on Broadcasting.
2002  Philippines Manila, Philippines "Covering the War on Global Terrorism."
2003  Jamaica Kingston, Jamaica "The Media and Armed Conflict."
2004  Serbia Belgrade, Serbia "Who decides how much information?".
2005  Senegal Dakar, Senegal "Media and Good Governance".
2006  Sri Lanka Colombo, Sri Lanka "The media as drivers of change."
2007  Colombia Medellín, Colombia "The United Nations and the freedom of press."
2008  Mozambique Maputo, Mozambique "Celebrating the fundamental principles of press freedom."
2009  Qatar Doha, Qatar "Dialogue, mutual understanding and reconciliation."
2010  Australia Brisbane, Australia "Freedom of information: the right to know".
2011  United States Washington, D.C., United States "21st Century Media: New Frontiers, New Barriers".
2012  Tunisia Tunis, Tunisia "New Voices: Media Freedom Helping to Transform Societies"
2013  Costa Rica San José, Costa Rica "Safe to Speak: Securing Freedom of Expression in All Media".
2014  France Paris, France "Media Freedom for a Better Future: Shaping the post-2015 Development Agenda".
2015  Latvia Riga, Latvia "Let Journalism Thrive! Towards Better Reporting, Gender Equality, & Media Safety in the Digital Age".
2016  Finland Helsinki, Finland "Access to Information and Fundamental Freedoms".

See also[edit]


  1. ^ United Nations General Assembly Session 48 Verbatim Report 85. A/48/PV.85 page 29. Retrieved 2008-07-15.
  2. ^ United Nations General Assembly Session 48 Document 624. Report of the Economic and Social Council - Draft Decision II A/48/624 page 22. 17 December 1993. Retrieved 2008-07-15.
  3. ^ Previous celebrations

External links[edit]