World Press Freedom Day 2020: date, theme, history, significance and quotes

Freedom of the press is important to keep people informed. A free press supervises the administration and forces it to work for the betterment of the country.

Thomas Jefferson once said “The press [is] the only tocsin of a nation. [When it] is completely silenced…all means of general effort [are] carried away.”

The press serves as a means of communication between the government and the people. The free press has a huge responsibility to report the truth and shape people’s opinions. Thus, to mark the importance of the press, World Press Freedom Day is celebrated every year.

World Press Freedom Day 2020: Date

World Press Freedom Day, popularly known as World Press Day, is one of the calendar events planned, organized and promoted by the United Nations, observed annually on May 3.

The day is celebrated to raise awareness of the importance of press freedom. The day is a reflection between media professionals on issues of press freedom and professional ethics.

“A free press can, of course, be good or bad, but most certainly without freedom the press will never be anything but bad.” – Albert Camus

May 3, World Press Freedom Day is a day of support for media who are the target of restriction or abolition of press freedom. It is also a day of remembrance for journalists who have lost their lives in search of a story.

World Press Freedom Day 2020: theme

The theme for World Press Freedom Day 2020, “Journalism Without Fear or Favor” and the sub-themes for this year are:

  • Safety of female and male journalists and media workers
  • Independent and professional journalism free from political and commercial influence
  • Gender equality in all aspects of media

According to UNESCO, on May 3, national and local celebrations for World Press Freedom Day will take place around the world, which will include online debates and workshops.

UNESCO will launch a global campaign on media and social media channels, emphasizing “journalism without fear or favour” in an increasingly complex media landscape.

“As the [COVID-19] pandemic is spreading, it has also given rise to a second pandemic of misinformation, ranging from harmful health advice to wild conspiracy theories. The press provides the antidote: verified, scientific and fact-based information and analysis.” -UN Secretary-General António Guterres

Those interested can join the free livestreamed event to celebrate World Press Freedom Day 2020: “Difference Day Conference 2020”.

World Press Freedom Conference 2020

Since 1993, the World Conference has been held annually. The conference offers journalists, civil society representatives, national authorities, academics and the general public the opportunity to discuss emerging challenges to press freedom and the safety of journalists and to work together to identify solutions. .

The Netherlands is the host of 2020. UNESCO planned to hold the conference from April 22-24 at the Global Forum in The Hague. But due to Covid-19, a global pandemic, the conference is now scheduled for October 18-20 at the same location.

The conference will be a joint celebration of World Press Freedom Day (3 May) and the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists (2 November).

World Press Freedom Day 2020: History

World Press Freedom Day was proclaimed by the General Assembly of the United Nations in December 1993, following the recommendation of the General Conference of UNESCO. Since then, May 3 has been celebrated as World Press Freedom Day.

World Press Freedom Day reminds governments of the need to uphold their commitment to press freedom.

“Anyone who wants to overthrow a nation’s freedom must start by subjugating freedom of speech.” -Benjamin Franklin

May 3 also marks the anniversary of the Windhoek Declaration.

On this World Press Freedom Day, here are some quotes about press freedom, take a look.

World Press Freedom Day 2020: Here are some quotes on press freedom | Representative picture

World Press Freedom Day 2020: Quotes

“The press must do what it can to minimize abuse of power (self-examination can help, as can competition), but we must also try to understand with clarity why and how press freedom can enrich human lives, improve public justice and even help promote economic and social development.” -Amartya Sen.

“We live to think and express our thoughts in writing. If an individual or a government prevents someone from writing, from being published…it’s like committing suicide.” -Ahmad Zeidabadi

“As journalists, we are sometimes guilty of not realizing the enormity of the challenges and responsibilities we carry on our shoulders.” -Geofrey Nyarota

“We must defend freedom of the press and freedom of expression, because, in the end, lies and misinformation are no match for the truth.” -Barack Obama

“Freedom of the press, if it means anything, means freedom to criticize and oppose.” – George Orwell.

“The freedom of the human spirit is recognized in the right to freedom of expression and freedom of the press.” -Calvin Coolidge.

“Freedom of the press belongs to the people of a nation, not to the owners of publications.” -AJ Liebling.

I wish you all a happy World Press Freedom Day 2020!

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