World Press Freedom Day 2017 - Critical Minds for Critical Times: Media’s role in advancing peaceful, just and inclusive societies
Every year, 3 May is a date which celebrates the fundamental principles of press freedom; to evaluate press freedom around the world, to defend the media from attacks on their independence and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession.
World Press Freedom Day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 1993 following a Recommendation adopted at the twenty-sixth session of UNESCO's General Conference in 1991. This in turn was a response to a call by African journalists who in 1991 produced the landmark Windhoek Declaration on media pluralism and independence.
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.
It is a date to encourage and develop initiatives in favour of press freedom, and to assess the state of press freedom worldwide.
3 May acts as a reminder to governments of the need to respect their commitment to press freedom and is also a day of reflection among media professionals about issues of press freedom and professional ethics. Just as importantly, World Press Freedom Day is a day of support for media which are targets for the restraint, or abolition, of press freedom. It is also a day of remembrance for those journalists who lost their lives in the pursuit of a story.
Read UNESCO World Press Freedom Day Concept Note.
Video message by UN Secretary-General António Guterres
Journalists go to the most dangerous places to give voice to the voiceless.
Media workers suffer character assassination, sexual assault, detention, injuries and even death.
We need leaders to defend a free media. This is crucial to counter prevailing misinformation.
And we need everyone to stand for our right to truth.
On World Press Freedom Day, I call for an end to all crackdowns against journalists – because a free press advances peace and justice for all.
When we protect journalists, their words and pictures can change our world.