World Press Freedom Day 2014: Media freedom for a better future

© UNESCO

On 3 May of every year the World Press Freedom Day is celebrated all over the globe. It serves as an occasion to inform citizens of violations of press freedom - a reminder that in dozens of countries around the world, publications are censored, fined, suspended and closed down, while journalists, editors and publishers are harassed, attacked, detained and even murdered.

Iraq is one of those countries.

For the World Press Freedom Day 2014, journalists, media professionals, human rights’ activists, and regular individuals along with UNESCO and other international organizations are raising their voices against the deteriorating situation as regards to freedom of expression and the safety of journalists in the country.

The Iraqi Journalism Syndicate, the Iraqi Women Journalists Forum, and the Association of Defending Press Freedom are organizing a series of events in Baghdad to celebrate this occasion and discuss current setbacks and challenges threatening press freedom. These include:

· Violations against journalists;

· Safety of journalists and the question of impunity;

· Legal framework and operational context of freedom of expression;

· Journalism Protection Rights law and the amendments required to improve it; and

· Code of conduct of media professionals.

Attended by Iraqi officials, NGOs and civil society representatives, and media professionals, these discussions represent an ideal platform for exchanging ideas and concerns, and agreeing on a set of tangible steps in order to inclusively improve the global context of press freedom in Iraq, and implement previous recommendations in this regard, including the UN Plan of Action for Safety of Journalists.

Additionally, for this occasion, UNESCO is requesting for journalists and media professionals to participate in a special survey that will allow UNESCO to identify their priority areas of concern and the main obstacles that are preventing them from doing their job in a professional and secure environment.

To participate in this survey, please click here.

Promoting the safety of journalists and combating impunity for those who attack them are central elements within UNESCO´s support for press freedom on all media platforms. Consequently, UNESCO is committed to advancing freedom of press and safety of journalists, both offline and online, through a variety of actions. These include awareness raising, capacity building, promoting partnerships and co-ordination of the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists.

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