Freedom of Expression and Press Freedom

© UNESCO

In recent years, the number of attacks against journalists and media workers has increased worryingly.

According to Reporters Without Borders, in 2012, 89 journalists were assassinated worldwide while performing their professional duties.

Such acts of violence, but also intimidation, threats and harassment against journalists, often with complete impunity, affect all citizens’ fundamental rights to express and be informed, and have also deep effects on democracy processes.

It is important to highlight that the great majority of the casualties were not international war correspondents, but local journalists working in their own countries, mostly in peacetime, and covering local stories. 

UNESCO's mission

UNESCO is the sole UN specialized agency with a mandate to defend and promote freedom of expression and press freedom.

The Organization commits to raise awareness among Member States, civil society and others partners on the safety of journalists issue, and urges governments to investigate acts of violence and threats against media professionals and thus end the phenomenon of impunity.

  • UNESCO celebrates each year on 3rd May the World Press Freedom day. During the celebration of this day, the Organisation honors with the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize a person, organization or institution that has made an outstanding contribution to the defence and/or promotion of press freedom anywhere in the world, and especially when this has been achieved in the face of danger.

UNESCO supports also safety training courses and workshops for journalists and media workers worldwide.

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