20 years of World Press Freedom Day

10 May, 2013

World Press Freedom Day is an opportunity for the international community to renew its commitment to freedom of expression in challenging times.

We have experienced a revolution over the last 20 years. Newspapers have gone online and publish today through a multitude of media. The 24 hour news cycle has become the norm embraced by most networks, with news broadcasted around the world every minute of every day. Blogging, tweeting, and podcasting have opened vast new channels for sharing information and fostering expression. Citizen reporters are increasingly leading the news cycle, using mobile phones, especially in disaster and conflict areas.

The transformation of the media landscape has created exciting opportunities for exchange and dialogue, and for sharing knowledge and information. However, it has not translated into stronger respect for fundamental freedoms.

On World Press Freedom Day, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said:

“We all owe a debt of gratitude to the courageous journalists who risk imprisonment, injury and death to report from repressive countries or conflict zones around the world. It is easy to take for granted the stream of information that reaches us each day from across the globe. But many people run enormous risks to bring it to us. Fourteen journalists have already been killed in the first four months of this year alone: half of them in Syria. My thoughts are with them and their families and friends. And I also pay tribute to the increasing number of “citizen journalists” who use social media to provide ground truth about what is happening in other countries, who often face pressure and intimidation.”

 

We will be holding a meeting in October on freedom of the media in developing and fragile states, bringing together journalists, officials and non-state actors to share experiences, identify opportunities and propose best practice for the future. More details will be available in due course. To register your interest, please contact Susan Bruce susan.bruce@wiltonpark.org.uk

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