02.05.2013 - UNESCO Office in Dakar

World Press Freedom Day celebrated in Senegal

Every year on 3 May, the world celebrates the fundamental principles of press freedom. It is the opportunity to evaluate press freedom around the world, to defend the media from attacks on their independence and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession.

This year in Dakar a conference will be held at the UNESCO Dakar headquarters on 3 May and will bring together journalists, media personalities, human rights activists, bloggers, student journalists, representatives from other UN agencies, embassies and UNESCO partners.

The main theme of this year's World Press Freedom Day is ‘safe to Speak: Securing Freedom of Expression in All Media’. "This focus puts the spotlight in particular on the issues of safety of journalists, combating impunity for crimes against freedom of expression, and securing a free and open Internet as the precondition for safety online," says Jean-Pierre Ilboudo, responsible for the Communication and Information Sector at UNESCO's Regional Office in Dakar.

A panel composed of media professionals, police, and lawyers will discuss the safety of journalists and the question of impunity.

Presentations will include:

  • Violence against journalists - the insecurity of the profession
  • The provisions of the Press Code regarding the safety and the protection of journalists
  • The relationship between the press and the law enforcement services
  • The United Nations Plan of Action on the security of Journalists

A photo exhibition on photojournalism in times of crisis as well as the testimonies of male and female journalists who have faced violence will be presented during the event.

Progress but a long way to go

In the 20 years since the creation of World Press Freedom Day, huge changes have transformed the media landscape, making it increasingly pluralist and open. Yet, much remains to be done to ensure that freedom of expression becomes a reality around the world. Today, journalists continue to be killed simply for doing their job, bringing information to the public and for having exercised their rights.

That is why the Director General of UNESCO Irina Bokova and Ban Ki Moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, have stated in a common message…“On this World Press Freedom Day, we call on Governments, societies and individuals to do their utmost to protect the safety of all journalists, offline and online. Everyone has a voice; all must be able to speak freely and in safety.”

World Press Freedom Day celebrates 20 years

This year, 2013, is the 20th celebration of World Press Freedom Day. It was proclaimed in 1993 at the United Nations General Assembly.

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