03.05.2017 - UNESCO Montevideo Office

Critical Minds for Critical Times: Argentina, Colombia, Paraguay and Uruguay celebrated the World Press Freedom Day, 2017

This year’s World Press Freedom Day Celebration (link) reminded us that it is critical times for journalists and journalism. The media landscape is being reshaped by political, technological, and economic transformations. Traditional media is suffering falls in profits and are reaching low levels of audiences. Today, there is an increasing tendency for people to seek their news online, a contributing factor affecting traditional media and the credibility and quality journalism.

In this context and to commemorate this year’s World Press Freedom Day Celebration a number of relevant stakeholders throughout Latin America carried out activities to advocate the importance of defending the fundamental principles and the role of the media as key actors for building peaceful, just and inclusive societies.

Latin America’s World Press Freedom Day Celebration: 3-day marathon

This year, the regional celebration took place in Asuncion, Paraguay, organised by the Inter-Institutional Panel on Safety of Journalists and Fight Against Impunity of Paraguay, along with prominent partners (*).

From the 3rd - 5th May 2017, in Asunción regional partners carried out a number of activities including an international seminar titled, "Freedom of expression, the safety of journalists and media plurality: essential for democracy" that took place on Wednesday 3rd May from 13:00 -17:00 at the Supreme Court of Justice of Paraguay. It was also the occasion for UNESCO to launch its recent publication Media Concentration and Freedom of Expression: Global Norms and Consequences for the Americas. On the 4th May in the Public Ministry, a seminar titled, "Freedom of Expression, Safety of Journalists and Democracy" took place where the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression and Opinion of the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights (IACHR) will present his report "Silenced Zones”.

A number of other simultaneous activities were also offered, including the seminar titled “Press and journalists in a democracy” targeted at National Police officials -which had the presence of representatives of the Attorney General's Office from Colombia-, an open meeting on the safety of journalists with the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the IACHR for the press and media workers.

On Friday, 5th May, the San Lorenzo Courthouse hosted an activity sponsored by UNESCO, USAID/CEAMSO and the Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the IACHR on the training for judges and prosecutors. To conclude the celebrations, the Paraguayan NGO IDEA organized a round table discussion on access to environmental information with the participation of NGOs and other interested stakeholders.

The South American Union of Correspondents offered training on post-conflict journalism at the University of Palermo, Buenos Aires

In Argentina, from 8th -12th May, with the support of UNESCO, the University of Palermo held a course titled, "Post-Conflict Journalism: The Case of Colombia" with special guest, international expert, Javier Bernabé Fraguas, from Universidad Complutense de Madrid. T

he event targeted professors from the University of Palermo (UP), in particular those linked to journalism.

The Ministry of the Interior of Argentina Celebrated World Press Freedom Day 2017

In Buenos Aires, the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Argentina held International Seminar within the framework of this year’s World Press Freedom Day Celebration titled XIII Transparency and Access to Information Network Meeting.

The conference was a space for dialogue and exchange between local officials and international experts in the areas of ​​transparency and access to information, including Mr José María Costa, Director of Transparency and Public Information of the Supreme Court of Paraguay. The event was opened to all of the public and journalists and representatives of civil society organisations.

It was supported by UNESCO, the European Union's Eurosocial programme and the Transparency and Access to Information Network.

Colombia asked the Region: Is there a "right to be forgotten online"?

Outstanding international law experts, presidents and magistrates from the Supreme Courts of Justice of Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Mexico, along with colleagues from Harvard and Stanford, and the Directorate of Public Policy and Government Affairs in Latin America for Google were invited by the Faculty of Law of the University of the Ande, to participate in the international event titled "Freedom of Expression and the right to be forgotten online". The activity, which is supported by UNESCO Office in Quito had the participation of the UNESCO Communication and Information Sector as well as ANDIARIOS, El Tiempo, FLIP, and many others.

The event addressed "the right to be forgotten online", the implications of this right on other fundamental rights such as freedom of expression, habeas data, privacy and access to information. Participants also discussed the role of the media in this scenario and the particularities of Latin America, especially regarding decisions taken by Courts and administrative authorities in the Region.

Uruguay will presented a national mechanism for freedom of expression monitoring

In Uruguay, the Center for Archive and Access to Public Information (CAINFO) launched an innovative mechanism for monitoring freedom of expression case laws that is now operating at the national level. CAINFO have already collected a number cases that have occurred from May 2016 until May 2017, which are now available online at: monitoreo.cainfo.org.uy

For more information about more activities carried out in the Region and globally: https://en.unesco.org/datasets/event/27484/map


The World Press Freedom Day is celebrated on 3 May around the world. The UN General Assembly proclaimed this international day in 1993 following a recommendation adopted at the 26th session of the General Conference of UNESCO in 1991. This, in turn, was a response to a call by African journalists that in 1991 produced the historic Windhoek Declaration on Media Pluralism and Independence.

This year, the Indonesian Government and the Indonesian Press Council hosted the Global Press Freedom Day event and the presentation of the UNESCO / Guillermo Cano Global Press Freedom Prize in Jakarta, May 4, 2017.

This activity constitutes a contribution to ODS 16 of Peace, justice and strong institutions. www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/es/objetivos-de-desarrollo-sostenible/

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