On 3 May 2020, UNESCO will lead the celebration of the 27th annual World Press Freedom Day (WPFD). UNESCO and the Kingdom of the Netherlands had planned to hold the World Press Freedom Conference (WPFC) from 22 to 24 April at the World Forum in The Hague, a city known for its role in international peace and justice. In light of the COVID19 outbreak, the conference is now scheduled for 18 to 20 October at the same venue. The event will be a joint celebration of World Press Freedom Day and the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists (2 November.(
The focus this year is on taking action to secure independent journalism. This call is to everyone who has a role to play, including governments, journalists and media, the judiciary and legal sector, Internet businesses, civil society, academia and the youth. The focus for WPFD 2020 is on successes in enhancing professional journalism and its foundation on independent news media institutions.
Today, it is timely to highlight such independence as a necessary condition for the fulfillment of press freedom. This is because persisting and new forms of control of media threaten journalism’s role in providing the public with reliable facts, inclusive views and a diversity of cultural expressions.
WPFD 2020 KEY MESSAGES:
• Support independent journalism so that media workers can report without fear or favour. Newsrooms should be free to make independent editorial decisions that favour public interest and preserve accountability.
• A free and independent press is essential at all times, but is particularly important during a health crisis such as the one we are currently experiencing. At a time when many seek information primarily online, the role of professional journalists, whom are trained to help sort through the flow and provide necessary guidance, is vital.
• No crisis can be resolved without accurate and reliable information. At all levels, from governments to individuals, the decisions we make can be a matter of life and death and must be based on facts and science.
• It is also important to help the media and journalists report on the crisis effectively and safely, and to promote critical thinking to limit the spread of rumors and misinformation.
• On World Press Freedom Day, on 3 May, UNESCO calls on governments, media and civil society to join us in a global online movement to draw the world's attention to these issues which are essential to the survival of our democracies. Together, we will ensure that our response to the crisis is effective.