World Press Freedom Day

World Press Freedom Day Quick Facts - AU

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2024 Date3 May 2024
2025 Date3 May 2025

World Press Freedom Day

World Press Freedom Day in
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World Press Freedom Day History

World Press Freedom Day aims to promote and protect the independence of media and the rights of journalists. It serves as a reminder of governments to uphold freedom of expression and journalistic integrity, and tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty. The observance primarily focuses on the significance of press freedom, its persistent challenges, the defence of media from attacks, and paying tribute to journalists who have sacrificed their lives in pursuit of truths.

World Press Freedom Day was established by the United Nations General Assembly in December 1993, following the recommendation of UNESCO’s General Conference. In Australia, the relevance of this observance is reflected in the ongoing discussions and actions concerning the integrity of public broadcasting, the safety of journalists, legislation affecting journalistic freedoms, and debates on laws regarding whistle-blower protections and national security. It marks an important time to address any challenges and limitations that impact the Australian press and its freedom.

Observation of World Press Freedom Day in Australia is marked by numerous activities. The broad spectrum of media, journalism bodies, and non-government organisations host events ranging from debates, discussions, press conferences, and workshops, to awards recognising journalistic contributions to press freedom. The focus invariably remains on encouraging dialogue and participation related to press freedom and journalism ethics. World Press Freedom Day occurs each year on May 3rd, highlight the values of free press and acknowledging its pivotal role in promoting democracy, accountability, and openness of our society.

Facts about World Press Freedom Day

  • The theme for World Press Freedom Day in 2023 was Shaping a Future of Rights: Freedom of expression as a driver for all other human rights.
    In 2022 the theme was Journalism under Surveillance.
  • According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers. – Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  • The day is also celebrated with numerous events including the 'Press Freedom Australia Dinner' which is a major fundraising event that helps to raise money for the Media Safety and Solidarity Fund. The fund provides support and assistance to journalists who are killed, imprisoned, or forced into exile in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • In 2022, Australia ranked 26th out of 180 countries based on freedom of press according to Reporters Without Borders, a slight fall from its 25th position in 2018

Top things to do in Australia for World Press Freedom Day

  • Get your inner journalist active on social media. The internet has given birth to a citizen journalist movement that harnesses the power of millions who previously had no voice. We all have cameras in our pockets and access to an audience of millions on social media.
  • Attend an event. There are dozens of events celebrating WPFD, these conferences bring together journalists and media workers to discuss current issues. UNESCO offers more info.
  • Explore the Australian Press Freedom Tracker, an online database that documents incidents of press freedom violations in Australia. For more information, check out Press Freedom Tracker
  • Visit the National Library of Australia. Located in Parkes, the library holds collections of historic Australian newspapers and documents that highlight the evolution of press freedom in Australia.

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