Top UN officials highlighted the importance of a free flow of information for human rights, sustainable development and democracy.
The international World Press Freedom day has been celebrated since 1993. It is an important date to remind us of the dependency such things as human rights, democracy and sustainable development have on a free flow of information. Besides, the right to information, quality one, depends on the freedom of press.
Each year UNESCO identifies a global thematic and has a main event, every time in a different part of the world. This year's theme is "Access to information and fundamental freedoms, this is your right!" It is being held in Helsinki, Finland until May 4.
The idea of this day is to celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom among which the UNESCO lists, " to evaluate press freedom around the world, to defend the media from attacks on their independence and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession."
Irina Bokova Director General of UNESCO said in her message "UNESCO has been spreading efforts across the world to create a free and safe environment for journalists and media workers everywhere."
Also, SG Ban Ki-moon said “Press freedom and the free flow of information are necessary not only to inform citizens about the [Sustainable Development] Goals, but to enable them to hold their leaders accountable for fulfilling the pledges they have made.”
On the other hand, he showed his concern over the increasingly risky environment for media workers.
“A free, independent and safe media environment is essential. Yet, all too often, journalists are threatened, harassed, obstructed or even killed in the pursuit of information. Many languish in detention, some in appalling conditions, for shedding light on governance failures, corporate malfeasance or societal problems,” added the SG.
Also according to UNESCO, right now every five days a media professional is being killed in the job. To prevent this from happening SG urged for the commitment of nurturing and protecting an independent free media.
In a special video done for this day, journalists form all over the world discussed the reasons why access to information is a fundamental freedom for, holding governments accountable, share knowledge, improve our decision making and incentivize openness.
They urge law makers to put a hold on impunity of journalists threats and crimes by creating clear legislations for the future. Lastly they aim to make people conscious about this fundamental freedom by saying "this is your right."
“In this spirit, I call on everyone to stand united in defending and encouraging press freedom and the right to access to information. This is essential for human rights and dignity, for our aspirations for sustainable development, for common determination to build lasting peace,” concluded Ms. Bokova.