World Press Freedom Day: A Free Press Is ‘Cornerstone’ for Accountability and ‘Speaking Truth to Power’ – UN Chief

Human Wrongs Watch

At a time when disinformation and mistrust of the news media is growing, a free press is “essential for peace, justice, sustainable development and human rights”, said the UN Secretary-General, in his message for World Press Freedom Day, marked on Friday [2 May 2019].

UN Photo/Violaine Martin | Journalists wait for the arrival of official delegations at the Geneva II Conference on Syria, in Montreux, Switzerland. UN Photo/Violaine Martin
No democracy is complete without access to transparent and reliable information, said António Guterres, describing unfettered journalism as “the cornerstone for building fair and impartial institutions, holding leaders accountable and speaking truth to power.”

This years commemorations which began on Thursday across the world, are focussing on the powerful role that good reporting plays in championing democracy and free elections, when disinformation is becoming a larger problem in even the world’s oldest and most sophisticated democratic systems.

“Facts, not falsehoods, should guide people as they choose their representatives”, said the UN chief, noting that “while technology has transformed the ways in which we receive and share information, sometimes it is used to mislead public opinion or to fuel violence and hatred.”

According to the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), almost 100 journalists were killed going about their work in 2018, with hundreds imprisoned. A total of 1,307 journalists were killed between 1994, and last year.

Mr. Guterres said he was “deeply troubled by the growing number of attacks and the culture of impunity…When media workers are targeted, societies as a whole pay a price.”

Facts must win out: UNESCO chief Azoulay

The head of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, said in her message for the day that it was essential to “guarantee freedom of opinion through the free exchange of ideas and information, based on factual truths.”

She said societies which value a free press, needed to “constantly vigilant. We must act together to protect the freedom of expression and safety of journalists”.

A free media is a “prerequisite” for the proper functioning of democracies, she added: “Independent journalism provides an opportunity to present facts to citizens and to form an opinion. Press freedom guarantees transparent societies where everyone can access information”.

Among the commemorative events that got underway on Thursday, were a global conference on “Media for Democracy, Journalism and Elections in Times of Disinformation” in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, jointly organized by the Government and the African Union Commission, together with UNESCO; and a conference in the Lebanese capital Beirut, on the same theme, organized by the local UNESCO office in partnership with the Ministry of Information.

A high-level event takes place at UN Headquarters in New York on Friday where the Secretary-General and President of the UN General Assembly are due to speak, followed by an expert roundtable. (SOURCE: UN News).

One Comment to “World Press Freedom Day: A Free Press Is ‘Cornerstone’ for Accountability and ‘Speaking Truth to Power’ – UN Chief”

  1. The damage that the media owners and the naive journalist who do not question themselves, their bosses, nor do they mention their powers to shape public mood and opinions. Never seen a story about the science of propaganda, advertising, and human weaknesses to media stimuli and simple suggestions. NEVER. A million stories about all sorts of things, and not one about the most important subject of all ! This fact says it all ! The media and news organizations are PURPOSELY killing journalism with petty stories and screen-drunk journalist, more concerned with agitating the public than reporting news. These “Blog” news are not helping. They are a part of the extinguishing of print news, they steer the public away from buying newspapers ( newspapers that have been ruined by design, with the stripping of information and high prices. No print means that “bad” stories can be deleted, or, changed without evidence of tampering. Wake up ! You can delete this information, when your done reading it, Mr. Kamal ! the public will never know ! God will, though !


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