Freedom of the press is something of an immortal debate, it stirs up every now and then, especially when there is an incident that brings forth how this right has been snatched away. To honour the freedom of the press and the ability to bring all sorts of information forward without having to the United Nations declared 3rd May of every year to be celebrated as the World Press Freedom Day.
In December 1993 the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed May 3rd to be observed as the World Press Freedom Day in honour of the Declaration of Windhoek. The Declaration was produced at the UNESCO seminar, "Promoting an Independent and Pluralistic African Press," held in Windhoek, Namibia in 1992, from 29 April to 3 May. This declaration was the first in a series of such declarations around the world, and as a crucial affirmation of the international community's commitment to freedom of the press.
This World Press Freedom Day of 2021 is the 30th anniversary of the Declaration of Windhoek. This year’s theme is Information As A Public Good, which, taking the current scenario under consideration, maybe one of the most beneficial entitlements.
“The theme of this year’s World Press Freedom Day, “Information as a Public Good", underlines the indisputable importance of verified and reliable information. It calls attention to the essential role of free and professional journalists in producing and disseminating this information, by tackling misinformation and other harmful content.” — Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO
Apart from the World Press Freedom Day Global Conference, which is held every year on this occasion, the United Nations also recognizes the efforts of one individual or organisation who worked for the freedom of the press. A Prize was established by UNESCO’s Executive Board, in 1997, in honour of Guillermo Cano, a Colombian journalist who died in the exercise of his profession. Its purpose is to reward each year a person, organization or institution that has made a notable contribution to the defence and/or promotion of press freedom anywhere in the world, especially if risks have been involved.
Maria Ressa, an investigative journalist and media executive from the Philippines was named the laureate of the 2021 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize. The Award Ceremony took place on 2 May 2021 in Windhoek, Namibia, during the World Press Freedom Day Global Conference, and was streamed online.
ScooNews congratulates Maria Ressa on receiving the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize and feels proud to be of the same fraternity!
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