UNESCO Amman Office celebrates World Press Freedom Day 2013
Every year, May 3rd is a date that celebrates the fundamental principles of press freedom; an occasion to evaluate press freedom around the world, defend media from attacks on their independence and pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession.
This year, UNESCO celebrates the twentieth anniversary of World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) since it was first established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1993.
In a Joint Message from Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations and Ms. Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, “World Press Freedom Day is an opportunity to renew our commitment in challenging times… Too many media workers suffer from intimidation, threats and violence…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.”
Securing the safety of journalists continues to be a challenge as the world witnesses an upward trend in the killings of journalists, media workers, and social media producers. Responding to this overall context of press freedom, this year’s WPFD focuses on the theme “Safe to Speak: Securing Freedom of Expression in All Media”, putting the spotlight 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 online safety.
Globally, one major development in the international co-operation on press freedom was the endorsement of the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity by the chief executives of all UN bodies.
More locally in Jordan, the UNESCO Amman Office is holding a variety of activities to promote press freedom and raise awareness of the issue. It is sponsoring four TV programs airing on Roy’a TV that include discussions, debates and interviews with media experts and professionals on issues relating to this year’s WPFD theme. The programs are being broadcasted from May 3rd to May 7th.
In addition, UNESCO invited a group of media advocates including law experts, journalists, decisions makers and renowned media activists to discuss this year’s theme and mainly freedom of expression on the internet over an informal lunch. The lunch is also a way to thank them for their continuous efforts in promoting freedom of expression in Jordan.
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