Video Message from Ms Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, 3 May 2013
Ladies and Gentlemen,
This year, on May 3rd, we celebrate the 20th anniversary of World Press Freedom Day.
For twenty years, we have worked to promote freedom of expression, as the basis for empowering individuals, for building free and democratic societies.
Enshrined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, freedom of expression requires a safe environment, where all can speak freely, without fear of reprisal.
World Press Freedom Day is an opportunity to renew our commitment in challenging times.
The numbers are simply alarming.
In the last ten years, more than 600 journalists have been killed, many while reporting in non-conflict situations, on local issues of corruption.
Nine out of ten cases go unpunished.
Many more journalists suffer from intimidation and harassment, from death threats and violence.
Many find themselves thrown into jail, often without legal recourse.
This cannot stand.
This is why the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity is so important.
Inspired by UNESCO, the Plan of Action sets clear principles, objectives and measures to be taken across the United Nations system and with Member States.
Our goal is simple – to ensure every journalist can do her or his job safely.
This is why the theme of this year’s World Press Freedom Day is “Safe to Speak -- Securing Freedom of Expression in All Media.”
Freedom of expression must be respected in the ‘real’ and the ‘digital’ worlds, where news is increasingly produced and consumed.
Bloggers, citizen reporters and social media producers face increasing threats to their safety.
World Press Freedom Day is a chance for us to raise the flag for freedom, for the safety of journalists, for combating impunity, in all media.
I call on Governments, societies and individuals to promote these goals, offline and online.
Everyone has a voice – everyone must be able to speak freely and in safety.
This is UNESCO’s message today.
Irina BokovaBack to top