07.05.2012 - UNESCO Office in Dakar

World Press Freedom Day 2012 celebrated at UNESCO Dakar

Journalist students attending World Press Freedom Day 2012 in Dakar - © UNESCO/Anne Müller

Freedom of expression has been described as one of our most precious rights by the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon and UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova.

This statement was enshrined in a joint message read out by the Director of UNESCO’s Regional Office in Dakar, Ann Therese Ndong Jatta on 3 May 2012 as she officially opened a day’s conference to celebrate World Press Freedom Day in Dakar Senegal.

The message underscored the importance of freedom of expression noting that it underpins every other freedom and provides a foundation for human dignity.

Critical role of the media

This year the celebration focused on the theme New Voices: Media Freedom Helping to Transform Societies.

The message from the UN system further explained that media freedom entails the freedom to hold opinions and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers, as stated in Article 19 of the Universal declaration of Human Rights.

Speaking on behalf of the Senegalese Minister of Communication, Cabinet Director Souleyeman SY, spoke about the importance of the press as the fourth estate of the realm noting that the press plays and continues to play a crucial role in development.

No democracy without communication

The following panel discussion focused on two themes: 

  • The Role of the Press in the Consolidation of Democracy:
  • The Online Media and Social networks faced with the challenges of Ethics and professional conduct.

Mr Moustapha Geuye, a lecturer and Researcher at the School of Journalism in Dakar (CESTI) stressed in his presentation the role of the press in the consolidation of democracy.

“There is no democracy without communication,” he said.

Online media on the move

Mr. Abdourahmane Sy of the Association of professionals of the online press/media (APPEL) spoke about the growing number of online media in Senegal and explained the background of the formation of Appel to promote and professionalise the online media.

Mr. Sadikh Ndiaye a social media specialist also gave an overview of the social media network and how it operates. These presentations were followed by fruitful discussions with the lead discussant Mr. Mamadou Ndiaye of CESTI.

More than 100 participants 

The conference was jointly organised by the Senegalese Ministry of Communication and UNESCO.

The more than 100 participants included representatives of the United Nations System in Senegal, technical and financial partners, civil society members, media professionals from the public and private sector and students of CESTI among others.

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