World Press Freedom Day

World Press Freedom Day Quick Facts - CA

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2024 DateMay 3, 2024
2025 DateMay 3, 2025

World Press Freedom Day

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World Press Freedom Day History

World Press Freedom Day is dedicated to honoring the principle of press freedom and the importance of free journalistic practices, while paying tribute to journalists who have lost their lives fulfilling their profession. It conveys the crucial role of the press in facilitating the exchange of information, contributing to informed decision-making, and promoting transparency and accountability in society. This day also serves as a reminder of the ongoing challenges to press freedom worldwide, including censorship, legal restrictions, and physical threats to journalists.

World Press Freedom Day, with its rich history, was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 1993 following a recommendation made at UNESCO's General Conference. For Canadians, it carries a significant meaning. Canada, like many democracies, values the freedom of expression, and press freedom forms a key part of this principle. Recognizing the day spotlights Canada's commitment to safeguarding a free press and supports initiatives that aim to advance journalism without fear or favor. It is also an opportunity for Canadians to appreciate the efforts of journalists who risk their lives, in certain circumstances, to bring the truth to light.

In Canada, World Press Freedom Day is marked by activities that raise awareness about the importance of a free press. These initiatives may include conferences, workshops, seminars, cultural events, online campaigns, and publications tackling media law reforms and journalists' safety. Media organizations, government bodies, human rights groups, and educational institutions play a prime role in these activities. World Press Freedom Day takes place on May 3rd each year.

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
  • Canada ranks 19th in the world for press freedom, according to the 2022 World Press Freedom Index published by Reporters Without Borders.
  • Canada's Access to Information Act allows citizens to request information from government departments and agencies. However, the law has been criticized for being slow and cumbersome.

Top things to do in Canada 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.
  • Visit the Canadian War Museum located in Ottawa, Ontario. It has an extensive exhibit on the role of journalists in war, highlighting the importance of press freedom in conflict zones.
  • Attend the the Canadian Committee for World Press Freedom (CCWPF) annual forum. Held in Ottawa, Ontario, the forum promotes the discussion and debate of press freedom issues.

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