20.04.2012 - UNESCO

Crowdsourcing tool to map World Press Freedom Day celebrations around the world

Screenshot of the Ushahidi Platform

This year the main celebration of World Press Freedom Day will be held in Tunis from 3 to 5 May 2012, jointly organized by UNESCO and the Tunisian Government under the theme, New Voices: Media Freedom Helping to Transform Societies. The event is also a worldwide one that will be visible thanks to the Ushaidi Platform.

The recent uprisings in some Arab States have highlighted the power of media, the human quest for freedom of expression and the confluence of press freedom and freedom of expression, through various traditional and new media. This has given rise to an unprecedented level of media freedom. New media have enabled civil society, young people and communities to bring about massive social and political transformations by self-organizing, and engaging the global youth in the fight to be able to freely express themselves and the aspirations of their wider communities.

For this reason, the celebration in Tunis represents a truly symbolic event. The Ceremony of the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize 2012, hosted by the Tunisian Government, will be followed by a two-day conference that will hold a plenary session on Tunisia and discuss how to improve the safety of journalists, decriminalization of defamation, development of public service broadcasting, professional and ethical standards, access to quality information and the issue of media ownership in a changing media landscape. Other events will be organized by professional and non-governmental organizations. Some three hundred journalists and editors from all over the world, as well as international and regional non-governmental organizations, will attend this conference.

Other events will be organized all over the world by UNESCO field offices, NGOs, media organizations, schools, universities and social media. UNESCO can map these events through a crowdsourcing tool based on the Ushahidi Platform, open source software, which incorporates interactive mapping. No matter where you are, you can share your celebration of World Press Freedom Day with the world.

Seminars, workshops, round tables, meetings, conferences are taking place in UNESCO’s Offices in Quito (Ecuador), Kingston (Jamaica), Santiago (Chile) and Abuja (Nigeria) involving a wide range of partners, journalists, government’s officials. A two-day conference highlighting the main media challenges and professional responsibilities will take place in UNESCO’s Office in Beirut (Lebanon). Together with the Beijing Office, Globe International (IFEX member) launched an online discussion on the themes of the Tunis’s conference. In cooperation with the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA), UNESCO’s Office in Harare (Zimbabwe) organizes events in the cities of Mzuzu, Blantyre and Lilongwe. Celebrations will include media debates, freedom marches, media awards and a gala dinner.

How will you celebrate WPFD 2012? Tell us by submitting your celebration on the WPFD Celebrations around the World Platform.

“Ushahidi”, which means "testimony" in Swahili, was a website initially developed to map reports of violence in Kenya after the post-election fallout at the beginning of 2008. Since then, the word "Ushahidi" has come to represent the people behind the Ushahidi Platform, which has grown from an ad hoc group of volunteers to a focused organization composed of individuals with experience ranging from human rights work to software development, primarily in Africa, but also in Europe, South America and the United States.

Since its proclamation by the UN General Assembly in 1993, every year, 3 May is a date that celebrates the fundamental principles of press freedom, evaluates press freedom around the world, defends the media from attacks on their independence and pays tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession.




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