UNESCO celebrates World Press Freedom Day and trains Yemeni and Al Jazeera journalists on safety
The UNESCO Office in Doha celebrated World Press Freedom Day 2013 earlier this month in Sana’a, Yemen, in partnership with Al Jazeera Media Network, the United Nations Human Rights Training and Documentation Centre for South-West Asia and the Arab Region, the Doha Centre for Media Freedom and the Yemen Journalists Syndicate.
Al Jazeera broadcast the full celebration live on Al Jazeera Mubasher and posted a video of it on YouTube. Yemen TV and many local newspapers also covered the event.
The World Press Freedom Day celebrations in Yemen, which were held from 5 to 9 May, were centered on the global theme “Safe to Speak: Securing Freedom of Expression in All Media”. The events focused on the issue of safety of journalists and included discussions of the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity.
One hundred and twenty individuals, including journalists, human rights activists, academics, leaders of international organizations, and human rights and humanitarian workers participated.
Many speakers highlighted the importance of celebrating World Press Freedom Day in Sana’a, suggesting that it will enhance the role of the press. They called on journalists and media specialists to abide by ethical and professional standards, and to ensure accuracy and impartiality in event coverage. Others stressed the need for cooperation of all stakeholders in removing obstacles to freedom of expression.
It was noted that the celebration of World Press Freedom Day this year comes at a time of high suffering of journalists, both in terms of safety and economic conditions in Yemen and across the Arab region.
The event’s sessions focused on press freedom and the safety of journalists:
Session I: Protection of press freedom and the safety of journalists
Session II: Role of governments and media organizations in the protection of journalists
Session III: Press freedom and the safety of journalists in Arab Spring countries
Session IV: Impunity and lack of justice for victims
Session V: Testimonies from victims
The closing session was devoted to discussion and recommendations.
The celebration was followed by four days of training on the safety of journalists and the right of access to information, attended by 25 journalists from Yemen and 10 from Al Jazeera Media Network.
Themes of the training:
- Human Right for Journalists
- The right of access to information and freedom of expression from the perspective of international law
- UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity
- Human rights in the press
- The right of access to information in the consolidation of the concept and application of transitional justice in post-conflict areas
- Freedom of the press and the promotion of transitional justice
- The efforts of organizations in the field of the protection of journalists
- Practical training on the safety of journalists (two days)