World press Freedom day

Photo: Envato Elements

Press Freedom Day 2021: ‘Information as a public good’

World Press Freedom Day is observed annually on 3 May. It was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 1993.

World press Freedom day

Photo: Envato Elements

World Press Freedom Day urges citizens from across the globe to celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom and to assess the state of said freedom throughout the world.

In addition, citizens are called on to defend the media from attacks on their independence and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

World Press Freedom Day 2021

Media for democracy

The theme for this year’s Press Freedom Day 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, [this 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”.

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural organisation (Unesco)

It also serves as an occasion to inform citizens of press freedom violations and the initiatives develop in favour of press freedom. It is a reminder that in dozens of countries worldwide, publications are censored, fined, suspended and closed down.

2021 theme: Information as a public good

Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, said on 3 May 2021, this year’s theme underlines the indisputable importance of verified and reliable information. Azoulay explained:

“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

The discussion around this year’s debate on World Press Freedom day will be centered around three topics:

  • Steps to ensure the economic viability of news media;
  • Mechanisms for ensuring transparency of Internet companies; 
  • Enhanced Media and Information Literacy (MIL) capacities that enable people to recognize and value, as well as defend and demand, journalism as a vital part of information as a public good.

SA government’s commitment

Government has emphasised the importance of media in sharing credible information with the public Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) Director General, Phumla Williams, said in a statement on Monday.

“In an era of instant information sharing, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for trustworthy and fact-checked news for public good is crucial”.

Williams made her comments as government joins the rest of the world in commemorating World Press Freedom Day under the theme, ‘Information as a Public Good’.

Read more here: Government stresses role of media in democracy