3 May acts as a reminder to governments of the need to respect their commitment to press freedom and is also a day of reflection among media professionals about issues of press freedom and professional ethics. Just as importantly, World Press Freedom Day is a day of support for media which are targets for the restraint, or abolition, of press freedom. It is also a day of remembrance for those journalists who lost their lives in the pursuit of a story.
"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, on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day
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This year’s World Press Freedom Day theme “Information as a Public Good” serves as a call to affirm the importance of cherishing information as a public good, and exploring what can be done in the production, distribution and reception of content to strengthen journalism, and to advance transparency and empowerment while leaving no one behind. The theme is of urgent relevance to all countries across the world. It recognizes the changing communications system that is impacting on our health, our human rights, democracies and sustainable development.
To underline the importance of information within our online media environment, WPFD 2021 will highlight three key topics:
Celebrations around the world
The 2021 Global Conference is hosted by UNESCO and the Government of Namibia. It will take place on 29 April - 3 May in Windhoek. The event will be a physical and digital experience combining virtual and in-presence participation. Register now to be part of the regional forums, side events, keynotes, artistic showcases, films screenings and more! Join media leaders, activists, policymakers, media and legal experts, artists and researchers from all over the world.
The Conference will call for urgent attention to the threat of extinction faced by local news media around the world, a crisis worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic. It will put forward ideas to tackle the challenges of our online media environment, push for more transparency of internet companies, strengthen safety of journalists, and improve their working conditions. The Conference will also call to support independent media and empower citizens to face these challenges.
30th Anniversary of Windhoek Declaration
World Press Freedom Day has its origins in a UNESCO conference in Windhoek in 1991. The event ended on 3 May with the adoption of the landmark Windhoek Declaration for the Development of a Free, Independent and Pluralistic Press. After 30 years, the historic connection made between the freedom to seek, impart and receive information and the public good remains as relevant as it was at the time of its signing. Special commemorations of the 30th anniversary are planned to take place during World Press Freedom Day International Conference.
This year, the Conference is connecting with the regional World Press Freedom Day celebrations, hosting six Regional Forums to focus on local aspects of press freedom and explore the current trends and challenges. The Forums build upon the historic series of regional seminars triggered by the 1991 seminar in Windhoek, which inspired regional declarations to promote a free, independent, and pluralistic press, after similar seminars held in Alma-Ata (1992), Santiago (1994), Sana’a (1996), and Sofia (1997).
Academic Conference and Youth Newsroom
UNESCO and the University of Namibia (UNAM) are hosting the sixth edition of the Academic Conference on the Safety of Journalists. The Youth Newsroom 2021 edition is being held in partnership with the Namibia University of Science and Technology. Participants will cover the conference mostly virtually and will be able to attend guest speakers’ lectures.