New Delhi | Simran Srivastav: World Press Freedom Day is observed every year on May 3 to spread awareness about the importance of freedom of the press in providing information and remind governments to respect the right to freedom of expression. Introduced by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in December 1993, this day also pays tribute to the journalists who lost their lives.

World Press Freedom Day 2022: History

The UNGA, in December 1993, proclaimed this day after a recommendation adopted at the 26th session of UNESCO's General Conference in 1991. The Windhoek Declaration was adopted on this day as well. It is a statement of press freedom principles by African newspaper journalists in 1991.

World Press Freedom Day 2022: Theme

This year, the theme of World Press Freedom Day is 'Journalism under digital siege'. According to the United Nations, the theme will focus on the several ways in which journalism is endangered by surveillance and digitally-mediated attacks on journalists, and the consequences of all this on public trust in digital communications. The UN also mentioned that the surveillance can uncover information collected by journalists including from whistle-blowers and can harm the journalists' safety.

The theme of World Press Freedom Day in 2021 was 'Information as a Public Good' and it was hosted in Namibia, Windhoek. The main focus of this theme was on the importance of cherishing information as a public good and exploring ways to strengthen journalism. It highlighted the ways to ensure the economic viability of news media, strengthen Media and Information Literacy (MIL) capacities, and the mechanisms for making sure about the transparency of internet companies.

In 2020, the theme was 'Journalism without Fear or Favour' and it was hosted in The Netherlands, The Hague. UNESCO launched a global campaign on media and social media channels focusing on this theme. The events like High-level Dialogue on Press Freedom and Tackling Disinformation in the COVID-19 context and online discussions through Facebook Live, YouTube, and Microsoft teams, among other digital platforms, were conducted.

The theme in 2019 was 'Media for Democracy: Journalism and Elections in Times of Disinformation', and it was hosted in Ethiopia's Addis Ababa. It focused on the challenges faced by the media in elections and the media's potential in supporting peace and reconciliation processes.

In 2018, the theme was 'Keeping Power in Check: Media, Justice and The Rule of Law'. In 2017, the theme was 'Critical Minds for Critical Times: Media’s role in advancing peaceful, just and inclusive societies'. In 2016, the theme was 'Access to Information and Fundamental Freedoms – This Is Your Right!'.

World Press Freedom Day 2022: Significance

According to the UN, World Press Freedom Day is celebrated to pay tribute to the journalists who lost their lives in the line of duty. Moreover, this day also celebrates the fundamental principles of press freedom and assesses the situation of press freedom throughout the world. World Press Freedom Day is also an opportunity to defend the media from attacks on their independence.

World Press Freedom Day 2022: Celebrations

This year, the annual World Press Freedom Day Global Conference will be organised by UNESCO and the Republic of Uruguay. The conference will be held from May 2 to May 5 this year. In India, this day is celebrated to salute the media journalists who risked their lives in providing information or sometimes lost their lives in the line of duty.

Posted By: Simran Srivastav