04.04.2011 -

Website raises curtain on celebration of World Press Freedom Day 2011 in the United States

The international celebration of World Press Freedom Day 2011 has been kicked off with the opening of the WPFD 2011 website for one of this year's key events, an international conference on 21st Century Media: New Frontiers, New Barriers to be held in the United States of America (Washington, DC) from 1 to 3 May.

The 2011 UNESCO Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize honouring an outstanding contributor to the defence of press freedom, particularly in the face of danger, will be awarded on World Press Freedom Day, 3 May, as part of the Washington event.


The website features the agenda of the conference and registration form for members of the public wishing to attend this gathering. The programme for the conference includes dynamic conversations, informative presentations and commemorative events to be held at the Newseum, the National Press Club, and other venues in Washington, DC.


This year also marks the 20th anniversary of the Windhoek Declaration promoting free and pluralistic media as essential to democracy and fundamental human rights. On 4 May, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova will join United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and other personalities at United Nations headquarters in New York to celebrate the anniversary.They will attend a round-table discussion on the development of free and pluralistic media on the African continent over the two decades since the Windhoek Declaration.


The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, said, "The programme for World Press Freedom Day 2011 is designed to foster a global conversation around some of the most important questions of our time and to support people around the world who are on the front lines working to advance free expression. Together, we will explore both the opportunities and threats to freedom of the press brought by new technologies and social networks. World Press Freedom Day 2011 will offer a forum for media freedom advocates, journalists, and policymakers to tackle these challenges and keep them on the global agenda."


The United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) organizes World Press Freedom Day commemorations to celebrate the fundamental principles of media freedom, assess long-standing and emerging threats to these free expression rights and pay tribute to journalists and activists who have risked their safety to advance the public's access to news and information. The 2011 edition is organised by UNESCO, the U.S State Department and over 20 civil society partners, including the UN Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.


Keynote speakers at the Washington event will include Irina Bokova, U.S. Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Judith McHale, and U.S. Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs Maria Otero. Among the more than 80 additional speakers are the leading voices on the front lines advancing and protecting press freedom around the world, including Wael Abbas, Blogger, Misr Digital (Egypt); Oscar Morales Guevara, Creator, Facebook group, "One Million Voices against FARC" (Colombia); Bob Woodward, Associate Editor, Washington Post; Xiao Qiang, Director, China Internet Project, UC-Berkeley; Founder and Editor, China Digital Times.


The events in Washington and New York are among the highlights of this year's commemorations for World Press Freedom Day, which will be celebrated in over 100 countries. Please click here for more information about international events.

About World Press Freedom Day


World Press Freedom Day is celebrated every year on 3 May worldwide. The United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) organizes World Press Freedom Day commemorations to celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom; to evaluate press freedom, to defend the media from attacks on their independence and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty. In December 1993, the UN General Assembly proclaimed 3 May as World Press Freedom Day. Since then, it has been celebrated each year on 3 May, the anniversary of the Declaration of Windhoek, a statement of free press principles as put together by newspaper journalists in Africa during a UNESCO seminar on "Promoting an Independent and Pluralistic African Press" in Windhoek, Namibia in 1991. The declaration calls for free, independent, pluralistic media worldwide characterizing free press as essential to democracy and a fundamental human right.

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