What is World Press Freedom Day?
World Press Freedom Day, celebrated yearly on 3 May, is a day to celebrate the fundamental human right of press freedom, weigh the state of press freedom around the world, and pay tribute to the journalists, editors and publishers who have lost their lives for doing their job.
How did it come about?
May 3 was proclaimed World Press Freedom Day by the UN General Assembly in 1993 following a recommendation adopted at UNESCO's General Conference in 1991.
The day was inspired by the Windhoek Declaration, which was adopted in 1991 at a UNESCO seminar in Windhoek, Namibia. The statement promotes an independent and pluralistic press in Africa in the face of years of political violence and authoritarianism on the continent.
The Windhoek Declaration has been viewed as widely influential as the first in a series of such declarations around the world. The date of the declaration's adoption, 3 May, was subsequently declared as World Press Freedom Day.
What's IFEX doing?
We have created a special webpage, available in English, French, Spanish and Arabic, showcasing exactly how our members around the world are commemorating World Press Freedom Day, and how you can learn more and get involved in your country.
I hear there's a prize!
The UNESCO/Cano award is conferred every World Press Freedom Day on an individual or group that defends and promotes free expression, often at great personal risk.
Imprisoned Ethiopian journalist Reeyot Alemu is the winner of the 2013 UNESCO-Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize. Alemu, currently serving a five-year sentence, was recommended by an independent international jury of media professionals in recognition of her “exceptional courage, resistance and commitment to freedom of expression.”
Created in 1997, the US$25,000 prize is awarded on the recommendation of an independent jury of 14 news professionals. Regional and international non-governmental organisations working for press freedom - cue IFEX members - and UNESCO member states submit nominations.
The prize is named in honour of Guillermo Cano, the Colombian journalist who was murdered in front of his office in 1986 after denouncing drug barons in his country.
Where is the official UNESCO event this year?
UNESCO and the Government of Costa Rica will jointly host the 20th World Press Freedom Day in San Jose, Costa Rica from 2-4 May 2013.
WPFD 2013 focuses on the theme of “Safe to Speak: Securing Freedom of Expression in All Media” and puts the spotlight in particular on the issues of safety of journalists, combating impunity for crimes against freedom of expression, and securing a free and open Internet as the precondition for safety online. See below for the "Crime & Unpunishment: Why journalists fear for their safety" infographic.
More on UNESCO's World Press Freedom Day 2013, as well as an archive of official events and themes in previous years, is available here.
What can I do?
Take part in the festivities! Check out the event listings to see if there's anything happening around you. We'll continue to post activities when we hear of them.
Click here to take action around World Press Freedom Day by taking advantage of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) special package, including cartoons, editorials and images to download and share in six languages.
And get up to speed on the issues by visiting our webpage, and sharing it with your friends!