The United Nations chose the title of its celebrations for this year’s World Press Freedom Day, as “Information as a public good.”
The United Nations explained that this year’s celebration is a call to affirm the importance of cherishing information as a public good, and to explore what we can do when producing, distributing and receiving content in order to enhance journalism and improve transparency and enabling capabilities, while working to ensure that no one is left behind.”
The United Nations added that the importance of the topic is extremely important for all countries in all parts of the world, and it recognizes the changing communication system that affects our health, human rights, democracies and sustainable development.
On World Press Freedom Day 2021, the United Nations stressed the importance of information in the context of this new ecosystem. It will shed light on the following three basic issues, namely, steps to ensure the economic viability of the media, mechanisms to ensure the transparency of Internet companies, and the strengthening of Media and information literacy capabilities that enable people to acknowledge, value, defend and claim journalism as a vital part of information as a public good.
In December 1993, the United Nations General Assembly declared World Press Freedom Day, based on the recommendation of the UNESCO General Conference. Since then, the anniversary of the Windhoek Declaration has been celebrated around the world on 3 May as World Press Freedom Day.
The history of World Press Freedom Day goes back to a conference convened by UNESCO in Windhoek in 1991. The conference was held on May 3, with the adoption of the historic Windhoek Declaration to develop a free, independent and pluralistic press. Thirty years after the adoption of this declaration, the historical relationship between the freedom to seek, transmit and receive information on the one hand, and the public benefit on the other hand, is still equally important. A series of celebrations to mark the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration will be held during the International Conference on World Press Freedom Day.
The United Nations stressed that celebrating freedom of the press serves as a reminder to governments of the need to respect their commitment to freedom of the press, and it is also a day for media professionals to reflect on issues of press freedom and professional ethics.
UNESCO and freedom of the press:
UNESCO and the Government of Namibia are hosting the 2021 International Conference, which will be held from 29 April to 3 May in Windhoek.
The organization explained that the conference is a face-to-face and digital experience that combines virtual participation and physical attendance, a series of regional forums, parallel celebrations, keynote dialogues, artistic performances, movie screenings, watching videos on demand (VOD), and more! Join media leaders, activists, policymakers, legal experts, media professionals, artists, academics, researchers, and civil society organizations from all over the world.
A UNESCO study showed that 73% of female journalists who participated in the organization’s survey face digital violence because of their performance of their work.
The organization called, through its official Twitter account, that governments and social media platforms should protect female journalists from digital violence. This violence harms women’s right to expression and society’s right to know.
UNESCO launched the hashtag #FemaleJournalists as well, on the occasion of International Women’s Day, which fell yesterday, the eighth of March.
UNESCO stated, “When any journalist is attacked, the dire consequences affect her and everyone’s freedom of expression and the use of information. Governments and social media platforms must protect women journalists from the digital violence that affects us all.”
The organization continued, “Female journalists are often subjected to coordinated and anti-women attacks. Hence, governments and social media platforms must protect women journalists from digital violence, which affects us all.”
UNESCO indicated that when a journalist is attacked, she is not the only victim, and this type of violence is directed against every woman who tries to perform her work, and part of her human rights is to be able to achieve herself in safety, and that cyberbullying is another part of the types of violence and must be eliminated. immediately.
Message from the Director-General of UNESCO on the occasion:
On the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, the Director-General of UNESCO, Ms Audrey Azoulay, referred to the crisis of the spread of the Coronavirus and the need to provide reliable information.
In her message on World Press Freedom Day, Azoulay explained that journalism has helped us understand the crisis resulting from this pandemic.
Regarding the title chosen for this year’s celebration, the UNESCO Director-General emphasized that the theme of this year’s World Press Freedom Day, which is “Information as a public good,” illustrates the undeniable importance of obtaining reliable and verified information.
What about Libya?
Attacks on male and female journalists in Libya have not stopped for years, and many journalists have been subjected to harassment, and in some cases to kidnapping, intimidation and murder, without punishment for these criminal acts.
The security and economic crisis has caused the emergence of armed groups that are not subject to the official authorities in Libya, arresting and terrorizing every voice that opposes their approach and actions on the ground, and this is something that all regions of Libya live in, in the west, east and south.
According to the International Press Freedom Classification, assessing the media situation in 180 countries, it indicating that the practice of journalism is severely hindered in 73 countries and 59 other countries have imposed restrictions on them.
Libya is among the countries where freedom of the press faces major obstacles, and it was ranked 165th in the world in the Press Freedom Index, and the report attributed its deterioration in Libya to the instability in the country and the interference of armed militias that destabilized the scene and undermined the rule of law in the country.