Wednesday, 22 November 2017

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World Press Freedom Day: A day to celebrate and reflect

 

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Today is World Press Freedom Day (WPFD), which serves as a yearly reminder that in countries around the world publications are still being censored, fined, suspended and closed down, while journalists, editors and publishers continue to be harassed, attacked, detained and even murdered, while trying to exercise their job.

Free media is key to free society, free debate and free ideas.”- Peter Greste, selected WPFD 2015 Speaker

It is also a day to celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom and to encourage and develop initiatives in favor of press freedom, and to reflect on issues of press freedom worldwide.

As many as 100 national celebrations take place each year to commemorate this Day. This year's theme is "Let Journalism Thrive! Towards Better Reporting, Gender Equality, and Safety in the Digital Age" and the main event will be co-hosted with the Government of Latvia from 2-4 May.

Risking life in the name of free press

In conjunction with WPFD, the annual UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize honours a person, organization or institution that has made an outstanding contribution to the defence and, or promotion of press freedom anywhere in the world, and especially when this has been achieved in the face of danger.

This years winner is Syrian journalist and human rights activist, Mazen Darwish, currently imprisoned in Syria after being arrested in February 2012, despite international efforts by the United Nations and human rights and press organizations to get him and his collogues released.

An independent international jury of media professionals selected Darwish in recognition of the work he has carried out in Syria for more than ten years, as the president of the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression (CMFE), and as one of the founders of the Voice newspaper and syriaview.net, an independent news site, which has been banned by the Syrian authorities.

Working as a journalist Darwin endures travel bans, harassment, repeated detention and torture.

Read more about the the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize and Mazen Darwish here

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