World Press Freedom Day

World Press Freedom Day Quick Facts - CA

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2023 DateMay 3, 2023
2024 DateMay 3, 2024
World Press Freedom Day

World Press Freedom Day acts as a reminder of the importance of a free press in a functioning and safe society and serves to commemorate the journalists who have lost their lives in support of the free press. In a time when media coverage is prone to fear-mongering and sensationalism, taking the time to appreciate and seek out journalism with integrity has never been more important. Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right as stated in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

World Press Freedom Day was established in 1993 by the UN General Assembly. This day marks the anniversary of the Declaration of Windhoek, a statement of press freedom principles put together by African journalists in 1991 to promote an independent and pluralistic African press. This day is observed annually on May 3.

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Facts about World Press Freedom Day

  • The theme for World Press Freedom Day in 2022 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.

References and related sites

United Nations: Press Freedom

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